15 Million for Bus Rapid Transit Project
DOT Budget A Big Boost For AC Transit
AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit project (BRT) will be awarded $15 million in federal funds– the first time the transit agency has been singled out in the President’s budget.
The BRT funding would come from the Department of Transportation’s New Starts and Small Starts Program, and marks a critical step toward receiving approval from the Federal Transit Administration to proceed with AC Transit’s East Bay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System. The proposed alignment would traverse through Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro along the Telegraph Avenue/International Boulevard/ East 14th Street corridor, and is designed to reduce commute times, smog and congestion in this very densely populated corridor.
“One of the things that gives me great delight in the President’s bill is that it is a reinforcement of AC Transit’s commitment to the BRT,’’ said AC Transit Interim General ManagerMary King. “At this point, this is the only way that federal money in large amounts will be flowing to transit projects. We believe the BRT is one of the best ways to capture it.”
More than a one-time gesture, the $15 million grant is indicative of the federal commitment to the BRT, hailed worldwide as the low-cost, environmentally-friendly future of urban mass transit. Indeed, the grant is expected to be merely the first of several annual subsidies to maintain the project’s viability.
“Certainly, all of the advocates– who have been so diligent about making the BRT project the best it can be—should be commended for their hard work to ensure that AC Transit stays at the forefront of the federal funding agenda,” King said.
Also, for its ongoing support of AC Transit, the California legislative delegation is owed a debt of gratitude, especially Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Senator Dianne Feinstein for their longtime dedication to the BRT project, King said.