Federal Transit Administration Celebrates Opening of Nation’s First Rural Bus Rapid Transit System
Contact: Tom Wilson
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today celebrated the opening of the VelociRFTA Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line serving the Roaring Forks Valley. The new service – the first rural BRT line in the nation – allows commuters from Glenwood Springs and surrounding communities to reach employers in Aspen, about 40 miles away, in an hour. That is roughly half the time the trip takes by regular bus service. FTA Regional Administrator Linda Gehrke joined state and local officials at the opening day event.
“President Obama’s plan to provide a better opportunity for working families includes access to good jobs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Residents living in rural Roaring Forks Valley need and deserve an affordable, reliable way to travel to work, and we are committed to investing in more good transit projects like this one to ensure that everyone – including residents of rural areas - has the chance to get ahead in the 21st century economy.”
With buses spaced 10 minutes apart during peak hours and plentiful parking available at nine stations, the VelociRFTA system combines the convenience of rail with the lower cost of bus service, giving commuters an efficient way to get to work. The service combines travel in mixed traffic with designated bus lanes and provides traffic lights timed to improve efficiency.
“This is going to make a huge difference in the quality of life for thousands of families who need affordable transportation choices that work for them,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, who attended the project’s groundbreaking in April 2012. “For many riders, the benefits of this investment are significant, with commute times cut in half and families saving hundreds of dollars a month on gas – freeing up funds for household groceries and other necessities.”
FTA committed nearly $25 million to the $46.2 million project through its Very Small Starts Capital Investment Grant program. The remainder was financed locally.