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TTA hosts ribbon-cutting ceremony for new headquarters

Jul. 27, 2013 @ 12:03 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A crowd of dignitaries joined in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Friday at the Tri-State Transit Authority's newly renovated headquarters.

The yearlong, nearly $2 million project added a second floor to TTA's administrative headquarters, located at 1120 Virginia Ave.

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., called the facility "one heck of a nice bus stop" during the ceremony's keynote address. He said it provides TTA with room and state-of-the-art resources to train its employees and transition between shifts.

"TTA's family now has not only room to breathe, but room to grow," he said.

The addition of a second floor provided extra room for several administrative offices, a board room and a kitchen. The general manager's office had long tripled as his work area, a training room and board room.

That training room now has a space to itself, located on the first floor with two dark rooms to combat driver fatigue, an expanded kitchen and recreation area. The level also houses expanded dispatching centers, and, like the rest of the building, those are fully equipped with updated technology, surveillance and are fully handicap accessible.

Paul Davis, general manager for TTA, thanked the audience and reminisced about the transit system's growth. For instance, the existing building was constructed in 1974. It was a metal facility unable to support another level, so that forced those designing a second story to build it on massive stilts.

"We're really excited," he told those in attendance. "It's been a long year, but we're here. Thank goodness."

The bulk of the building's price tag was covered with $1.23 million in federal funds. Also used were $308,000 in state funding and $341,232 in local funds TTA set aside to cover remaining construction needs and contingency.

Rahall and the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., are credited with earmarking federal dollars for the project. The congressman, who sits as a ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, touted TTA's facility as the reason that he defends such earmarks in Washington. He called such allocations critical to supporting local and state needs.

Rahall cited a number provided by fellow speaker Susan O'Connell, director of the state Division of Public Transit, saying West Virginia's annual public transit rides has topped 7 million.

"That's seven million trips to and from work, to and from stores and businesses, and to and from doctor's appointments, school trips and college classes that improved the health, wealth and minds of our people," he said. "When counties and cities must woo everything from roving carnivals to landing multinational corporations to serve their people, having a vibrant daily operating public transit system makes a heck of a difference.

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