State Match For BRT Looks Nearer

June 4, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Federal Transit Administration is prepared to pay its 80 percent share of the $40.1 million bus rapid transit line it has authorized The Rapid to develop along the nine-mile Division Avenue corridor that runs through Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Kentwood. But the federal dollars won’t remain on the table indefinitely: It will take a 20 percent state match to secure, and The Rapid still needs assurance that the state will be forthcoming with its share. 

Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid, feels more assured these days that the state will come through on the match.

Varga said he has been notified that the state is working on a solution to the match of funds..

“I’m optimistic,” Varga told the Interurban Transit Partnership Board Wednesday. 

The BRT line will run along Division Avenue from 60th Street north to Wealthy Street, up to Michigan Street thorough downtown and into Central Station. The route will be just under 10 miles, with 19 station stops and 10-minute service frequency during peak hours. The route will have a dedicated traffic lane and will use hybrid electric busses that have “secondary signal preemption,” which means traffic lights will automatically adjust to longer green lights and shorter red lights.

The board also approved Wednesday the elimination of weekend service on Route 17, which runs between Woodland Mall and Ford International Airport. The route has been in existence only 11 months but consistently performs poorly and below standard in all categories, said board member Terry Schweitzer, who serves on the Performance Oversight Committee.

“It’s the worst performing route on the system, and the cost to run it on the weekend is two and a half times the cost of running it weekdays,” Schweitzer pointed out.

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