Intermodal facility celebrates grand opening

Sen. Tom Harkin and other officials cut the ribbon for the the Ames Intermodal Facility on Saturday, June 9. The facility combines bus terminals, parking and bicycle storage all in one building at 129 Hayward Ave. in Campustown.

Frances Myers

The ribbon was officially cut for the Ames Intermodal Facility on Saturday, June 9, during its grand opening.

The intermodal facility has been an ongoing project since 2009 and is expected to be a source of economic impact as well as revitalization for the Campustown community.

Peter Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, came to Ames all the way from Washington. He said the project was selected as one of 51 candidates out of 1,400 applicants in what can be described as “a truly brutal competition from projects sent to [Administration] from all over the country.”

Rogoff said the reason this project was successful was because “it truly embodied President Barack Obama’s vision for what the Recovery Act is all about.”

In a phone interview with the Daily before the ceremony, Rogoff said the facility will enhance economic growth in the Campustown area by managing the problem of lack of parking in the area.

“Not only will it enhance economic growth with the 80 jobs it already has created but additional parking was needed in the area, and it should serve as a springboard to jump-start the Campustown community,” Rogoff said.

In his interview, Rogoff pointed out this could be a very cost-effective tool for students to use.

“With the fluctuating price of gasoline Obama has talked about wanting better transit choices for Americans through his all of the above strategy. This Recovery Act project embodies that focus, and students who don’t drive to school and use other transportation options can save thousands of dollars a year [by using the facility].”

He pointed out that the facility is a prime example of partnership between the city of Ames and the ISU community in his phone interview as well as public and private forms of transportation with public and private providers being served within the facility during his speech.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin took the stand after Rogoff. Harkin is a ISU alumnus and lived in Campustown during his study at Iowa State.

In an interview with the Daily, Sheri Kyras, director of Ames Transit and CyRide, mentioned how involved Harkin had been with the project. 

“Sen. Harkin has followed the process. It is a competitive national grant that we received and he helped us make sure that our project was known in the Washington community so that we had a good chance of getting funded under that competitive process.”

During his speech, Harkin noted how impressed he was with the facility. 

“I especially like it, being a [bicyclist],” Harkin said. “Everything has been integrated here. On one level, it’s practical. On another level, it’s just a revitalization of Campustown, a step in the right direction. … It’s also about creating jobs. That was the purpose of the Recovery Act. It did that in the Recovery Act. It created jobs here as it did all over America.”

Robert Anders, president of the Ames Transit Agency, noted that the intermodal facility is an addition that will be quite effective in Ames.

“Ames is a very transit intensive community, providing over 5.8 million rides per year,” he said. “And what that does is, that rivals our most transit intensive cities in the United States.”

In an interview with the Daily, Kyras said the facility is not open yet but should be opening within the next week or so. From opening day until July 30, people can park for free within the facility.