AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta Transit is getting $300,000 in federal funding.

The recent grant comes from the Federal Transit Administration. It will be used to improve access to resources like medical care, jobs, and groceries. 

Twenty million federal dollars were awarded to 47 communities across the country through the Areas of Persistent Poverty program. 

The federal funding focuses on transit access, outreach and clean energy in disadvantaged communities. Augusta was the only city in Georgia to receive one of the grants.

“This grant is specifically to study the users and also to see how their personal well-being benefits from having access to transportation to maintain their independence to get to jobs and hospitals,” said Dr. Oliver Page, Deputy Transit Director at Augusta Transit.

Dr. Page says the funds will be used to find ways to uplift South Augusta- by improving access to resources. 

“We are proposing to introduce micro-transit. Micro-transit is like Uber, Lyft, but it’s operated by a public transit agency,” said Dr. Page. “We are proposing to introduce micro-transit in South Augusta sometime in 2024.”

The grant money will be used to study how people’s lives have been changed using micro transit in South Augusta.

It will also be used to see how a bigger bus service can serve the area.

“South Augusta is a pretty big distance from downtown Augusta,” said Dr. Page. “So, this study will help us identify if using battery electric buses in South Augusta is the best use of those buses.”

Dr. Page tells us this grant will allow Augusta Transit to study public health impacts of their services for the first time.

“Similar studies have been done in other parts of Georgia, but they may not relate to Augusta, so that’s why we applied for this grant to study what is happening- or what CAN happen- here in Augusta,” said Dr. Page. “How new transit service can improve the lives of Augustans.”

Dr. Page tells us that Augusta Transit is currently applying for several other grants to further expand access.