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Press Release3/25/2024

COTA Celebrates Completion of $63 Million Modernization of McKinley Avenue Transit Facility

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today for the transformative modernization of its primary transit facility at McKinley Avenue just west of downtown Columbus. The $63 million project introduces expanded vehicle charging capabilities, improved maintenance and vehicle testing facilities, a new technologically advanced command center for COTA’s radio operations team as well as an official headquarters for COTA’s strategic response specialists.

 

Originally constructed in 1979, the improvements at the 436,000-square-foot McKinley Avenue facility will help COTA employees deliver better services to the Central Ohio community and assist in the transition to become a net-zero emissions organization by 2045. Additionally, the project provided workforce development opportunities with hands-on job training, shadowing, internships and externships, job site visits, and presentations to students and young residents to raise awareness of and interest in construction industry careers.

“We are thrilled to complete this state-of-the-art McKinley Avenue facility for our very deserving frontline workers and support staff employees who are dedicated to serving the Central Ohio community,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton. “COTA is on target to be diesel-free by 2025, and we continue to stand with the City of Columbus in its efforts to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. An investment in cleaner transit is an investment in healthier neighborhoods and these ambitious and necessary goals are why a renovated McKinley Avenue facility is so vital for COTA and the community.”

COTA continues to add all-electric vehicles to its fleet and expects to have 50 electric vehicles in service by 2025, and currently utilizes 251 Compressed Natural Gas vehicles in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In line with these efforts, the McKinley Facility is now LEED Certified, meeting the U.S. Green Building Council requirements, and includes

40 new charging stations for COTA’s all-electric buses. The parking lot is equipped with 14 EV charging stations for visitors and COTA electric cars as well as a CoGo Station and a new transit shelter.

model of updated McKinley facade

COTA also partnered with Marker Construction on the McKinley modernization project. In addition to leading construction management of the new facility, Marker developed and executed the COTA McKinley Avenue Workforce Development Plan aligned with this major construction project to address the significant and growing workforce needs across the regional construction industry.

“Marker has a deep and longstanding commitment to engaging underserved and diverse audiences while investing in the success of minorities and women across the communities in which we work, and the COTA McKinley Avenue project provided an amazing opportunity for us to partner with local institutions, trade associations, and nonprofit workforce development organizations to attract, train and retain construction industry employees,” said Marker President and CEO Alison Marker. “Like many industries, there is an ongoing construction workforce gap and Marker’s ability to not only promote these careers but lift up underserved Central Ohio residents with these opportunities is critical to our mission and continued business success.”

Specifically, COTA and Marker partnered with workforce development organizations in urban locations throughout Central Ohio, including Impact Community Action, Youth Build, and Franklinton Rising, as well as technical and trade schools, universities, and middle and high schools to bring awareness and attention to the construction industry as a relevant, well-paying career opportunity, as well as offer internships and on-the-job training to area students and residents.