From commuter rail in Northern Virginia, to a high-capacity project in Honolulu, to bus rapid transit in Texas, 27 major transit projects nationwide are in line for a $1.58 billion federal shot in the arm.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the funding packages Monday (June 27), saying they would improve public transportation access for millions of Americans, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and curb air pollution.
|The East Side Access project, set for a $215 million infusion, will connect two Long Island Rail Road lines in Queens to a new terminal beneath Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.|
The money comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, which provides support for subways, light rail, streetcars, bus rapid transit and other major capital construction projects.
“Investing in a modern transportation network is a key part of President Obama’s strategy to win the future by out-building and out-competing the rest of the world,” LaHood said.
“America’s long-term economic success requires investing now in transportation infrastructure capable of moving people and goods more safely, efficiently and quickly than ever before.”
The aid ranges from $5.4 million for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Fort Collins, CO, to $215 million for a 3.5-mile commuter rail extension on New York’s Long Island Rail Road.
“Our investments in expanding America’s transit networks will not only improve reliable transportation access for communities across the country, they will support construction jobs and economic development,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.
“And a more efficient and reliable transit network means new opportunities for Americans to keep more of their paychecks in their wallets and spend less at the gas pump.”
The projects include:
• $45 million for Connecticut’s New Britain-Hartford Busway, which will provide an alternative to the current daily commute on Interstate 84, the region’s most congested highway.
• $80 million for Denver’s 13-station Eagle Commuter Rail project, which will add nearly 23 miles to Denver’s transit system connecting downtown Denver, Denver International Airport and numerous communities in between.
• $21.2 million for the Rapid C Bus Rapid Transit Line in West Seattle, WA, which will improve access to downtown Seattle and connect the Washington State Ferries serving Vashon Island and Southworth, among other spots.
• $45 million for the Central Corridor light rail project, which will connect Minneapolis and St. Paul by light rail for the first time. The line will also provide more efficient access to the University of Minnesota, the Midway area, the State Capitol complex, Target Field and the Metrodome, and many neighborhoods.
• $24.2 million for the Austin MetroRapid, a 37.5-mile, 40-stop, bus rapid transit (BRT) system, scheduled to open in the summer of 2013.
A complete list of the 27 projects receiving New Starts funding allocations for 2011 can be found here.