The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing $32.5 million in federal funding for the 14-station, 7.8-mile Pioneer Parkway extension of the “Emerald Express” Bus Rapid Transit system serving Eugene and Springfield, Ore, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E Peters announced today.
“This project builds on our commitment to invest in transit across the country, and will provide new options for commuters traveling from home to jobs downtown,” said Secretary Peters, noting this is the 23rd New Starts transit project funded federally during the Bush Administration, totaling 282.5 miles and $23.4 billion invested. Overall, a record $64 billion has been invested in transit since 2001.
When completed, the $41.3 million extension will serve as a vital link between Eugene-Springfield and the primary downtown employment center by connecting with the existing Franklin corridor BRT route that opened in January 2007.
“The success of this project is due to Lane Transit District’s commitment to investing in clean, efficient transportation alternatives for the people of the Eugene-Springfield area,” FTA Acting Administrator Sherry Little said.
Downtown Eugene will be served with a direct connection to transit service via the Franklin corridor BRT, which also serves 20,000 students at the University of Oregon. Major employment centers along the Pioneer Parkway BRT route include: Symantec, Royal Caribbean, PeaceHealth, and the North Gateway Mall. Total employment within one-half mile of the BRT route is expected to be 15,500 jobs by 2010.
The Pioneer Parkway project will include 14 new stations, traffic signal priority, and the purchase of five low-floor hybrid-electric vehicles. The proposed service will operate every 10 minutes during weekdays. Upon completion, the Emerald Express is expected to carry approximately 3,700 passengers daily.
A portion of the total project cost is being funded by FTA’s Small Starts program, aimed at promoting less costly but highly effective transit projects. The total request for Small Starts funding must be under $75 million and the total project cost must be under $250 million.
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