Despite high bids, ATA still hopeful to complete project

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Not so fast in declaring the Punxsutawney Area Transportation Authority (ATA) terminal project on North Findley Street a dead issue.

During Monday’s Punxsutawney Borough Council meeting, Borough Manager Ben White said the bids that were due March 22 to construct a terminal on North Findley Street came in higher than ATA had planned to spend on the project.

White said that he had been in contact with state Rep. Sam Smith and state Sen. Joe Scarnati to alert them that ATA was going to discuss with them the possibility of securing some additional funding to help get the proposed terminals in Punxsy and St. Marys constructed.

White said Wednesday that he had nothing more to say about this issue at this time, and that it would be best to check with ATA regarding the project status.

Gabriel J. Uljon, ATA director of facilities and stationary equipment, said in an interview that the ATA terminal in Punxsutawney is not a dead issue, while John Lacny, ATA public information director, said a final determination has not been made regarding the project.

Lacny said the bids remain under review, and none have been accepted or rejected by ATA at this time.

There’s no further word as to whether Smith or Scarnati have been contacted by ATA in an effort to secure additional funding.

The bids for the terminal project were due March 22, with construction to begin within 90 days of approval.

Jerry Bankovich, of KTH Architects in DuBois, said at the March 8 pre-bid meeting that there are three alternate bid packages based mostly on whether or not second-floor space could be leased, and how much funding ATA would receive from PennDOT and the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) to construct the building.

• Base bid — Construct a two-story building on North Findley Street.

• Alternate No. 1 — Eliminate the second floor, and construct just the first floor.

• Alternate No. 2 — Construct a two-story building with a reduced first floor.

• Alternate No. 3 — Construct a single story building with a reduced terminal.

Bankovich said the bids were good for 90 days, and alternates would be chosen based partially on the amount of funding, and whether there’s a second-floor tenant.

Uljon said at that meeting that even if it builds just the single story, it will be constructed so a second story could be constructed at a later date.

The borough partnered with ATA in the demolition of buildings that housed the former Punxsy Beauty School, the Spencer Building and the Army-Navy Club.

The property on North Findley Street where the terminal is to be constructed is owned by ATA.