The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) will receive a $17 million grant for a proposed $68 million operations center to be located at the intersection of Southeast 25th and Maury streets, federal officials announced Monday. 

The 25-acre site owned by the city of Des Moines and the area sewage agency is about a mile southeast of Kemin Industries Inc.'s headquarters in a developing industrial area. DART runs buses, van pools and other services.

Amanda Wanke, the transportation agency's chief external affairs officer, said plans are preliminary and the transportation agency has not bought the land.

The Federal Transportation Administration, which announced the new grant, had informed DART it would no longer financially support the decades-old operations center just off Southwest Ninth Street south of downtown at 1100 Dart Way. Wanke said that 137,000-square-foot complex is outdated, too small and presents logistical problems including a shortage of space for servicing and staging buses and to handle electric buses that will be added to the fleet. 

The current operations center, where buses are serviced and stored, is in a floodway, another problem. The new location will be close to Martin Luther King Parkway.

The DART commission still is considering exactly how big the new facility will be, but it will be larger than the current facility, Wanke said. The commission is considering financing plans, which are likely to include both local and federal grants.

Wanke said the local cost of the project, in the neighborhood of $30 million or so, is similar to the cost of remodeling the current facility over the next 20 years. Most of the local share is likely to come from property taxes and fares from the DART system.