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USDOT Awards $96 Million to BRT Projects in Washington, Missouri and Commuter Rail in California

On April 9, FTA awarded $43 million for a new, 12-mile bus rapid transit line in Everett; $30 million to extend BRT 10 miles in Kansas City and $22.5 million to extend a North Bay commuter rail line two miles to a ferry terminal on San Francisco Bay.
April 17, 2018, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The grants given by Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams comes three days after it awarded $264 million to 139 bus projects in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

"The largest award [on April 9] was $43.2 million from the FTA's Capital Investment Grants [CIG] program for Everett's Swift II Green Line BRT project," notes the AASHTO Journal on April 13.

According to Community Transit, originally called the Snohomish County Public Transportation Benefit Area Corporation, the Swift Green Line will be the second bus rapid transit line in Snohomish County after the Swift Blue Line, connecting a Boeing manufacturing center in Everett with the Canyon Park technology center in Bothell.

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The FTA also awarded $29.89 million, also a CIG grant, to the "Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) for its proposed Prospect MAX bus project, which will extend BRT service 10 miles south from downtown Kansas City and serve the area's second-busiest transit corridor," according to AASHTO Journal.

Missouri's largest city has had bus rapid transit since 2005 when the MAX line opened. A second MAX line opened in 2011, known as Troost MAX

Neither the Everett nor Kansas City BRT lines will feature dedicated bus lanes, but both will have traffic signal priority.

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The one rail project awarded a Capital Investment Grant by the FTA on April 9 was the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART), a one-and-one-half-year-old diesel multiple unit commuter rail line that runs 43 miles from Sonoma County Airport in the north to San Rafael in southern Marin County, serving 10 stations.

"The 2.1-mile extension to the [Larkspur] Golden Gate Ferry terminal is considered a vital link that will lure commuters who travel between the North Bay and San Francisco," reports Michael Cabanatuan for the San Francisco Chronicle on April 9. "To make the trip now, SMART riders have to get off the train at the current end-of-the-line station in downtown San Rafael and take a bus to the ferry terminal or into San Francisco.

SMART had been awarded the grant from the Federal Transit Administration in February 2015, but as the Trump administration overhauled the Department of Transportation, the funding became uncertain.

The grant makes up a large chunk of the $55.4 million cost of the extension, which is expected to carry trains by the end of 2019.

"Our Larkspur connection is an important link to San Francisco and will connect residents, employers and visitors to Sonoma and Marin counties," said Judy Arnold, vice chairwoman of the SMART Board of Directors in a statement by the bi-county rail agency.

Cabanatuan writes that SMART has a northern extension planned to Cloverdale, creating a 70-mile system, making it 43 percent longer than the 49-mile mainline of the Bay Area's other commuter rail system, the San Francisco-to-San Jose Caltrain line. 

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Published on Friday, April 13, 2018 in AASHTO Journal
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