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Rexburg seeks U.S. grant for buses to Jackson

The southeastern Idaho city of Rexburg has applied for a federal public-transportation grant to start a bus route to Jackson, Wyo.

The (Idaho Falls) Post Register reports the city applied through the Idaho Transportation Department for the $80,700 grant to start a twice-daily service.

Starting the service in May 2015 would require a $45,300 local match for the federal money to kick in.

Rexburg is asking other government agencies, chambers of commerce, hospitals and businesses to contribute $2,500 each. Rexburg, Victor and Teton County have pledged to do that.

Officials say the interstate bus service will boost regional tourism and offer convenient travel for commuters and medical patients. The service also is expected to better connect eastern Idaho communities.

“This type of public transit will help (Brigham Young University-Idaho, which is in Rexburg) students if they want to travel for employment, internships or if they want to travel to Yellowstone,” Rexburg City Councilwoman Donna Benfield said. “This would also be a good thing for Rexburg to capitalize on the tourism dollars that are being lost from the visitors that come to the area.”

The bus route is part of the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development designed to encourage regional growth. The agreement includes Fremont, Madison and Teton counties in Idaho, as well as Teton County, Wyo., and seven area cities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Consortium supplied a sustainable communities planning grant of $1.5 million for the plan.

If the bus route is approved, Linx, a regional busing cooperative that promotes public transportation in eastern Idaho will work with Rexburg in creating routes. The Salt Lake Express, Targhee Regional Public Transit Authority, Karst Stage and START Bus are Linx members.

Officials said they don’t plan to buy buses, but would instead bid routes to local services.

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