The Crow Wing County Board ordered three buses at $50,000 each Tuesday for the countywide transit system.
The county will pay 20 percent of the cost for the buses.
The county has been working on a proposed bus system that will include transit service with Brainerd. The countywide system will expand transit service to the county and increase Brainerd's current Dial-A-Ride service. Brainerd has five buses and does not have to buy any additional buses.
During the county meeting, commissioners walked outside in front of the courthouse to look at a bus that is used for the city transit service to see what the buses will resemble.
"This is exciting for the county," said Commissioner Ed Larsen.
County Administrator Peter Herlofsky Jr. said delivery of the buses will take four months once the order is placed. The city will order the county buses. The Brainerd City Council also approved the purchase of the buses.
In the proposal, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will pay 65 percent of the operating costs and 80 percent of the capital equipment costs. The operating cost for the county will be about $253,500, and $419,500 for the city.
The city will continue to pay for the Dial-A-Ride program and the county will pay for the transit costs outside of the city.
In the proposal, the buses will travel to the outlying areas in the county five days a week, Monday through Friday. The geographic area in the county is divided into four service areas, with one flexible fixed route vehicle and two Dial-A-Ride service vehicles in each of the service areas two days a week.
Herlofsky said this proposal is not final and other options could be discussed. He said once a joint transit coordinator is hired, more of the details will be discussed, such as what the rates will be to ride the bus.
Interviews for a transit coordinator for this system were planned today by city officials.
Commissioners also formed a transportation implementation committee Tuesday.
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