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Ground Transportation Center Rolling to Recovery

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- When the 2008 flood wiped out the Ground Transportation Center, the Federal Emergency Management Agency stepped in with money to repair the damage.

"The FEMA dollars are being spent first on the improvements that were actually flood damaged," said Cedar Rapids Transit Manager Brad DeBrower.

The problem with the FEMA money is that it could only be used to repair the building as it stood before the flood. Extra funding allowed the city to remove walls and change parts of the structure. Those changes will make the building much more comfortable for riders.

The five year delay in actually putting hammer to nail came because the city had to amend an existing grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

"The FTA funds are allowing us to do a lot of upgrades, safety aspects and energy efficient upgrades," said DeBrower.

That includes elements like safer boarding platforms where busses won't ever have to back up blindly after loading passengers. The new facility will also have patches of artificial turf where waiting passengers can relax.

"We're trying to make it much more of an attractive place," said DeBrower. "Much more of an urban plaza type of feel to it."

For some, it's worth the wait.

"It just takes time, said the Executive Director of Riders for America Martin Wissenberg. We'd like everything to be fixed immediately. That can't happen."

One major change that local resident can expect is 4th and 5th Avenues becoming two-way streets. It’s part of a city-wide plan to get rid of nearly all of Cedar Rapid’s one-way streets but also will allow the buses to approach and leave the Ground Transportation Center in the right directions.

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