LANTA’S $12M in Rescue Plan funds will help it out of the red

Written by on March 9, 2022

LANTA’s $12M in Rescue Plan funds will help it out of the red

By Tyler Pratt
March 9, 2022

Ridership took a huge hit during the pandemic. (Photo | File)

The Lehigh Valley’s public transit system just got a big chunk of federal cash. 

The Lehigh and Northampton Transit Authority (LANTA) last week received more than $12 million in American Rescue Plan Funds

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But it doesn’t mean the agency will be expanding operations just yet.  

Instead, the money will help pull LANTA out of the red. 

Bus ridership and door-to- door operations for seniors took a huge hit over the pandemic. 

“At our lowest point we were down about 75% from normal,” LANTA Executive Director Owen O’Neil said. 

Thanks to drivers pulling overtime and working extra shifts it managed to keep buses on schedule until omicron hit, he said. 

“That really affected our staffing where we had 20-25 employees out at any given time,” O’Neil said. 

Now that the surge has subsided, drivers are back. 

Ridership is up  and so is the need for more bus trips. O’Neil said the valley is getting bigger—rapidly—with more people and development. 

“We’ll be growing by about 6,000 to 7,000 people a year and another 100,000 over the next decade,” O’Neil said “There’s more people, more places, more times that people want to go, so the mobility demand not only increases but gets more complex over time. 

LANTA has a plan to increase the number of buses on several crucial routes but it’ll be largely up to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the state legislature to approve funding to make that happen. 

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