Contact: Angela Gates
KENT, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today celebrated the opening of the Kent Central Gateway multimodal transit center. The new center is a state-of-the-art facility that improves access to transportation options in Northeastern Ohio and is key to local efforts to revitalize downtown Kent and connect the city’s central business district with Kent State University. FTA Regional Administrator Marisol Simon joined Congressman Tim Ryan and other local officials at the event.
The Department provided $20 million for the $25 million project through the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program. The remaining cost was covered by local funding sources.
“This new transit center will dramatically improve access to housing, employment and educational opportunities for everyone living or working in Kent,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It’s a great example of how transportation can help the local economy, both by bringing new businesses and development to the downtown area, and by attracting the young graduates local businesses need by providing the transportation choices they want.”
The new transit center is at the heart of local efforts to dramatically transform the City of Kent’s downtown core into a thriving employment, business and cultural center. The facility is central to a larger effort by the city, university and private developers to invest roughly $125 million to develop over 500,000 square feet of office and retail space, a new hotel and conference center, which opened in June, and a new county courthouse – all within walking distance of the Gateway facility.
“When transit is done right, it can serve as the epicenter of community and economic redevelopment,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “The Federal Transit Administration is enormously proud to join with the city, university and their partners to create a vibrant downtown and thriving community that offers everyone an improved quality of life and greater choices about how to get to work, school, medical appointments and elsewhere.”
According to the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA), which provides public transit service within Kent and the surrounding communities, more than 250 jobs were created during construction of the project, and hundreds of additional new jobs in the city are also expected due to related development.
PARTA will begin operating service out of the new transit center on Aug. 12. The facility will provide improved access between downtown Kent and the university, and serve as a key transfer location for PARTA and regional bus routes, connecting riders to Akron, Cleveland and other locations in Portage County. The facility also includes parking, pedestrian and bicycle connections to provide additional options for residents and visitors to get around.