DART is constructing an Operations and Maintenance Facility that will replace our aging facility at 1100 DART Way to better support daily bus service to Greater Des Moines. Because a new facility will be primarily funded using competitive federal grants, building a new facility will cost local taxpayers less and allow DART to operate more efficiently and effectively long-term.
Why a new facility?
We have operated out of our operations and maintenance facility at 1100 DART Way since 1978. Most areas of the facility are approaching 50 years and need major updates and repairs.
Take a tour to see the current facility’s condition:
In September 2023, the DART Commission unanimously approved beginning Phase 1 of building a new facility.
Reasons for this decision include:
- The current facility is in poor condition – having experienced multiple flooding events – and is in a flood plain directly adjacent to the Racoon River.
- Most major electrical and mechanical systems need replacement, with the building's electrical system in an underground tunnel that is 50 years old.
- Buildings are undersized for modern buses, causing inefficiencies.
- DART has outgrown the current facility and is landlocked within a growing residential area.
Photos of the current facility during flooding.
Because of multiple challenges, DART would not receive federal funds to renovate our existing facility, putting the cost of repairs on local taxpayers. Repairing the existing facility would still not meet our current infrastructure needs or our changing needs over the next 50 years.
Investing in a new facility will allow DART to improve efficiencies in operations, provide a safer and more functional workspace for our staff, and minimize taxpayer costs as we prepare for future transit needs.
How is the project being funded?
All transit agencies (and local governments) have an operating budget and a capital budget.
DART’s operating budget covers ongoing expenses like providing daily bus services, including operator wages, fuel, and insurance. DART’s operating budget does have some federal funding included (in a typical year, less than 10% of the budget) but is primarily funded through fares, property taxes, contracts with partners and other local funding. Learn more about how DART’s operating budget is funded.
Funding for the new Operations and Maintenance facility will come from competitive federal grants and DART’s capital budget. Capital expenses are items that have a useful life greater than one year and typically are costly items, such as buses, building remodels, and large equipment. Our capital budget is comprised primarily of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) annual formula funding, with a required 20% local match, as well as local funds set aside in past years.
The FTA limits the amount of federal grant money transit agencies can use within their annual operating budget, so DART is not able to solve the potential funding shortfall in its operating budget by using federal formula funding in Fiscal Year 2025 and beyond.
What is the cost?
Phase 1 of building a new facility is fully funded at $35 million, with 75% from federal funding and 25% from local funding. With the ability to apply for federal funds for future phases, building a new facility will be a long-term term investment with minimal local taxpayer dollars.
Staying in the current facility would cost an estimated $63 million local taxpayer investment in new buildings, infrastructure, and site improvements. A renovated facility would still be prone to flooding and would not leave room for DART to grow to meet the region’s needs or transition to zero emissions technologies.
Rendering of the new facility.
What is the timeline?
Phase 1 of the project is currently underway. It includes purchasing land for a new facility, completing facility design, and constructing most of the maintenance building. Construction is expected to begin in summer or fall 2024 and will take 12-16 months to complete.
The timing of future phases will depend on securing additional federal grants. When the entire facility is complete, it will include a maintenance building, bus storage, and an administrative office building.
How do I stay updated on the project?
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