U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $26.6 million for Jacksonville Bus Rapid Transit North Corridor Project
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2015—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the award of approximately $26.6 million in federal grant funds for the Jacksonville Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) North Corridor Project, which will provide more frequent and faster bus service to attract new riders and provide a needed transportation option in a heavily transit-dependent region.
“Innovative projects like Jacksonville’s North Corridor BRT project can offer people the ladders to join the middle class, provide for their families, and achieve a better quality of life,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “This project further highlights how we need a long-term transportation bill that will guarantee that the residents in Jacksonville, and those across the country, continue to have access to convenient, reliable, and efficient transportation options that will keep our economy growing and future generations of Americans moving.”
The 9.4-mile North Corridor line is the second segment of a five-phased First Coast Flyer BRT system planned for the Jacksonville area. It will connect to the first BRT line in downtown Jacksonville now under construction and extend north to Interstate 295. The new service will also connect to the future Southeast Corridor and serve major employment centers, Florida State College at Jacksonville, UF Health Jacksonville, parks and regional shopping centers.
“By expanding its BRT system, Jacksonville is building its transit future for a fast growing population and making a smart investment to support local and regional economic development,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “The North Corridor project also will make a huge difference for the majority of local residents along the corridor who do not have access to automobiles and rely heavily on public transportation to get to work, school, medical care and other vital services.”
The FTA is contributing 80 percent of the $33.2 million total cost of the North Corridor project, including $20.2 million from FTA’s Small Starts Capital Investment Grant Program and $6.4 million in FTA Bus and Bus Facility funds. The remaining project costs are being covered by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA).
The North Corridor project will have 18 stations, transit signal priority, real-time passenger information and off-board fare collection. It also will include the construction of a park-and-ride lot and the procurement of eight energy efficient compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.
Investments like this are vital to meet the transportation needs of the nation and to support local economic development. Under the Administration’s GROW AMERICA Act, a comprehensive multi-year program to fund infrastructure improvements, $115 billion is identified for investment in transit systems. The proposal significantly increases transit spending which will enable the expansion of new projects that improve connectivity to jobs, educational and other opportunities.
In addition, U.S. DOT recently released a landmark study, “Beyond Traffic” that looked at the trends and choices facing American transportation over the next three decades. These included a rapidly growing population, demographic and migratory shifts in rural and urban areas, increasing freight volume, innovations to enhance safety and efficiency, and a transportation system that’s facing more frequent extreme weather events. A key takeaway of the study is that more investment in transportation is needed for the sake of future generations, and the proposals included in GROW AMERICA support that goal.
The JTA is also seeking Capital Investment Grant program funds for the next several planned BRT segments—the 11.1-mile Southeast Corridor, the 18.5-mile East Corridor, and the 12.9-mile Southwest Corridor projects. JTA estimates that the entire BRT system will cover 57 miles and cost approximately $134.1 million.