Editor's note: A previous version of this article implied that Fort Bend County received a grant for an updated public transportation system. However, as of April 11, the county has only submitted an application for the funds and assured a local match per terms of the application. Whether the county will receive the funds has not yet been decided.

Fort Bend County is seeking an investment from U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher for upgrades to its public transportation system through a congressional community project.

At an April 11 meeting, commissioners committed to a $90,000 local match to a $450,000 grant for an updated scheduling and dispatching system for Fort Bend Transit in support of the grant application. If administered, the grant would provide system upgrades to include vehicle tracking, automatic passenger counters, Wi-Fi, passenger notifications, and IT training and support.

According to project documents submitted by Pamela LeBlane, public transportation finance and administration manager, the public transit system provides over 400,000 trips annually to visitors and residents of Fort Bend County.

LeBlane said public transportation is an essential resource that helps bridge the gap of unmet transportation needs for citizens around the county—which are especially impactful for constituents who are low-income, seniors or disabled.

“This all-in-one software will enhance the passenger experience through real-time vehicle location, annunciation systems for the elderly and disabled population, and access to an online trip-planning portal,” LeBlane said in a grant application.

The system was last updated in 2008 and “lacks efficiency, reliability and speed of current technology,” per project documents. The improvements will allow the county to maintain the system at a lower cost.

Robert Hebert, executive director for Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, also submitted a letter of support for Fort Bend Transit’s grant application. The nonprofit organization serves all eligible senior citizens age 60 and over living in Fort Bend and Waller counties.

Hebert said Fort Bend County’s public transit system supports Fort Bend Seniors’ mission to improve seniors’ quality of life as well as promoting their independence and continued involvement in the community.

If Fort Bend County is selected for the award, grant application documents state the system upgrades are estimated to begin January 2024 and end August 2024.