What was once just a big parking lot on Industrial Way in Woodland has been transformed into a gleaming new building that houses staff and operations for the Yolo County Transportation District.
The new building, publicly unveiled at a celebration on Monday, is part of a $6.8 million project that created additional parking for buses, improved safety and security for staff and property, and increased dispatch and operations space for the transportation district, which operates Yolobus.
“What a beautiful building,” said Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, during the dedication. “What we are witnessing today is the work that makes Yolo County special. I’ve seen it time and time again.”
Thompson was joined at the event by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove.
Funding for the project came from the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as state transportation bonds and transit assistance funds, and follows years of effort by local public officials.
On Monday, many of them came from all over the county to celebrate the building’s dedication and hail the collaboration that went into making it happen.
“I can’t believe that even a few years ago … it seemed like it was only a pipe dream,” said former Woodland Mayor Art Pimentel, who previously served as vice chairman of the transportation district. “Thanks to all the hard work, we were able to make it happen.”
He and others stressed the increasing importance of public transportation, particularly in a rural county like Yolo.
“Transportation is the lifeblood of communities,” said Leslie Rogers, regional administrator for the Federal Transit Administration. “It gets people to work, to school, to recreational activities.”
And the Yolo County Transportation District, Rogers said, “plays a viable and critical role in the lives and fabric of this community.”
Yolobus, which started 30 years ago, operates more than 60 buses, 21 hours a day, 365 days a year, and provides 1.7 million rides annually. Buses serve Davis, West Sacramento, Winters, Woodland, downtown Sacramento, Sacramento International Airport, Cache Creek Casino Resort, Esparto, Madison, Dunnigan and Knights Landing.
Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada of Davis noted that it is a service that will likely need to expand in the coming years.
“As our state continues to age,” she said, “there will be more and more need for public transportation.”
After all, Yamada said, most people will outlive their ability to drive by 15 or more years and will need alternative methods of getting around.
Officials say the upgraded hub in Woodland can only help.
Among the improvements: a waiting area for the public, a public reception desk with enhanced security for staff, expanded meeting and training rooms and security improvements that include lighting, automatic gates, surveillance cameras and fencing.
County Supervisor Don Saylor of Davis said he hoped the transformed Woodland facility “will become an active hub for riders.”
His colleague on the board of supervisors, Mike McGowan, who chairs the transportation district board, said on Monday, “We are all very excited about this beautiful facility.”
Others on hand for the public dedication were Supervisor Duane Chamberlain and city council members from Woodland and Winters.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or (530) 747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy