ST. PETERESBURG - The director of Maintenance for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will use his expertise to improve transit operations across the Sunshine State and help save taxpayer dollars.
Billy Johnson, an 11-year PSTA veteran, with more than 30 years of experience as a mechanic, was recently appointed to the Florida Transit Association Finance Corporation Consortium Purchasing Board. This group evaluates, selects and negotiates bulk-purchasing agreements for transit vehicles on behalf of Florida’s public transit agencies.
Consortium Purchasing Board members are selected from transit agencies across the state based on their level of expertise. The representatives are the “best of the best.”
As part of the consortium, Johnson will be working to ensure that Florida’s transit agencies get the best American-made vehicles at the lowest possible prices. For the next 18 months, the group will be evaluating numerous bus models from various manufactures to determine which will best serve the public. Once the list of vehicles is set, the consortium will negotiate a purchase price with the manufacturers as part of a five-year contract. The final list will include buses of all sizes and fuel sources including diesel, hybrids, and natural gas.
“This is really an honor and I’m excited about helping to select the vehicles that will shape the future of transit throughout the State,” Johnson said.
Johnson is the first PSTA Director of Maintenance to serve on the FTAFC Board since its inception. “This collaborative effort gives every Public Transit agency in Florida - no matter how big or small – the chance to purchase the buses of their choice at the best possible prices. It benefits both the taxpayers and the private sector manufactures,” adds PSTA CEO Brad Miller.
The FTAFC was created in 1995 by the Florida Transit Association (now known as the Florida Public Transportation Association) as a way to reduce the costs associated with transit operators’ capital and equipment projects.
An example of how the purchasing consortium works can be seen in the 12 new diesel-electric hybrid buses on order for PSTA. Due to hit the streets within the next few months, they were purchased from the state contract using federal grant funds.
For more information, visit PSTA.net or call the PSTA InfoLine at 540-1900.