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OLATHE, Kan. — Weeks after Johnson County announced it would end an interlocal agreement with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), county leaders have approved funding to upgrade part of the transit fleet. 

On Thursday, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted 7-0 to allocate up to $1,298,205 to purchase new vehicles for the county’s paratransit service fleet. 

Johnson County Transit (JCT) will purchase 15, 2023 Ford E450 Diamond Coach Cutaway vehicles from Southern Bus & Mobility Inc. 

The new fleet will replace existing vehicles that have exceeded their useful life. The Federal Transit Administration sets the useful life of a vehicle at five years old or 150,000 miles.

The average age of the county’s current vehicle fleet is 9.4 years with the four oldest vans being 11 years old. The average mileage of the vehicles is currently 194,912 miles. Approximately eight vehicles have more than 200,000 miles on the engine and three exceed 225,000 miles. 

“In the past two years these 15 vehicles that are being replaced have incurred approximately $25,000 in additional maintenance beyond our expected, preventative maintenance that we do, including seven transmission overhauls and two engine replacements,” Josh Powers, business liaison for JCT, said. 

The Cutaway can carry up to 12 seated passengers and is wheelchair accessible. Powers said the current fleet transports roughly 150 people a month.

The new vehicles will be paid for with $1,173,812 in federal and state grant funds. The county will spend approximately $124,393 from JCT capital fund. Powers anticipates the new vehicles will arrive within the next eight months.