10 New Rail, BRT Projects Selected for Funding by DOT

From bus rapid transit in Michigan to light rail in Arizona, ten new local transit projects are in line to receive federal capital funding under the President’s 2012 Budget proposal.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released a list of 10 new projects in nine cities that would receive a total of $569 million in funding under the president’s $556 billion, six-year transportation package. Also slated for federal support are 11 other projects that had been selected for federal funding in previous years but had not received commitments, including light rail in San Francisco and a busway in Connecticut. The president’s total proposal of $3.2 billion in capital funding for transit would also support seven projects, from New York to Dallas, that have been receiving ongoing federal funding.

Bus-Rapid-Transit, pictured here in Curitiba, Brazil, will get a big boost nationally under President Obama's 2012 budget proposal. Image: Before It's News

“As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union Address, we must win the future by investing in a modern transportation network that will enable us to out-compete the rest of the world,” LaHood said. “The projects we are proposing to Congress are an important down payment on the President’s promise to strengthen our transportation networks for the 21st century.”

New projects that would be green-lighted under the President’s proposal include:

  • Mesa, Arizona: Central Mesa LRT Extension, a 3.1-mile, four-station extension of METRO’s Central Phoenix/East Valley Light Rail Transit, which would be constructed at grade with a park-and-ride facility.
  • Fresno, California: Fresno Area Express Blackstone/Kings Canyon BRT, a street-running service, covering 13.8 miles with 26 stations between North Fresno and the southeast area of the city.
  • Jacksonville, Florida: JTA BRT North Corridor, a 9.3-mile route, running from downtown Jacksonville to I-295 with 13 stations, offering 10 minutes wait times during peak hours.
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan: Silver Line BRT would run 9.8 miles down Division Avenue with 19 stations using 10 hybrid buses.
  • El Paso, Texas: Mesa Corridor BRT, running 8.6 miles with 13 stations, would provide service every 10 minutes during peak hours to downtown and University of Texas-El Paso.
  • King County, Washington: RapidRide E Line BRT, an 11-mile, 31-station route, connecting the cities of Seattle and Shoreline along Aurora Avenue North.
  • King County, Washington: RapidRide F Line BRT would run 10 miles and 19 stations between the cities of Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila and Renton.

The projects selected met the requirements of the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts Program, thus ensuring “they represent a good investment of taxpayer dollars,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. New Starts funds locally planned and operated transit “guideway” capital projects.

Several additional projects are also being considered for funding using $400 million in proposed transit capital funds, including the Westside Subway Extension (Subway to the Sea) and the Regional Connector Transit Corridor in Los Angeles; the Columbia River Crossing in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area; and the Charlotte Blue Line Extension in North Carolina.