Funds Awarded for Freeman Transit Facility

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the award of grant funding to the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) on behalf of the Brookings Area Transit Authority (BATA). The funding is specified for new construction of a bus facility in Freeman. Doing business as Freeman Community Transit, BATA is the entity that manages the transit service provided in the Freeman community.

In addition to providing indoor, climate-controlled storage space for Freeman’s fleet of transit vehicles, the new facility is planned to also include an office area, restrooms and wash bay. Its location will be at the corner of Third and Poplar, directly north of Freeman’s City Hall. An estimated timeline specifies June of 2024 for the completion of the project.

Funding in the amount of $320,000 was awarded through the grant. Matching funds for the $400,000 project include a $60,000 contribution from BATA, as well as the city of Freeman’s in-kind donation of land and demolition services. In the event of a funding shortfall due to pricing increases, BATA has acknowledged their financial capacity to absorb potential shortfalls. 

Plans for this project have been ongoing for several years prior to submitting the grant proposal to the South Dakota DOT in March of this year. The earlier award of a separate planning grant allowed BATA to hire TSP, a Sioux Falls architectural firm, to develop plans for the facility to be built in Freeman. Documentation was also provided to demonstrate National Environmental Policy Agency (NEPA) approval.

A bus garage in Freeman has been a priority for both BATA and the local transit service for a number of years. The city of Freeman has graciously provided garage space to house the vehicles on a temporary basis. Grant funding will provide for a long-awaited permanent home, as well as a much-needed office space.

BATA is a registered non-profit that has been in business in South Dakota for 32 years. As a $2 million dollar-a-year transit operation, they serve four counties and have previously received funds from the FTA as a sub-recipient from the South Dakota DOT. Dollars for matching funds are derived from contract services, donations from city and county governments and services performed at various locations around South Dakota.

Travis Bortnem serves as the current executive director of BATA. Carol Eisenbeis, development and marketing coordinator for the city of Freeman, has represented the Freeman community on the BATA board of directors since spring of 2020. She contributed written content – including letters of support from community leaders and residents of Freeman – and photos that were included as part of the grant application submitted by Bortnem on behalf of the BATA board.

Freeman Community Transit is authorized to provide transportation for all ages, including preschoolers. Anna Munkvold serves as the lead driver, with rides dispatched through the Brookings office. Transit handbooks are available at City Hall in Freeman; information about the transit service can also be found online at

To schedule a ride or series of rides, call 605.692.2222 or toll-free to 855.962.9120 a day or more in advance.

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