The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Sept. 6 a $10 million grant for the Nashville Transit signal priority system upgrade, one of 52 transportation projects in 37 states that will receive a total of approximately $474 million from DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2013 discretionary grant program.
The $13.8 million project includes the installation of upgraded traffic signal equipment and safety enhancements that will improve on-time bus service and provide a more comfortable ride for thousands traveling to Nashville’s central business district every day. Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff was joined in Nashville by Mayor Karl Dean and local officials to announce the funds.
“These TIGER projects are the best argument you can make for investment in our transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Together, they answer President Obama’s call for a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing roads and bridges, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth by returning this route to its original condition reducing the associated long-term operations and maintenance costs.”
The Nashville Transit signal priority system will upgrade decades-old traffic signals and add signal priority equipment for all of the fixed-route buses serving southeastern Nashville along Murfreesboro Road. The upgrades will speed bus movement throughout Nashville, allowing the city to provide riders with more frequent pick-ups and drop-offs without adding more buses to already busy streets. The project also includes upgraded bus shelters, real-time information signs, and new pedestrian crosswalks and sidewalks. The Murfreesboro corridor carries the second-highest transit ridership in Nashville’s Metropolitan Transit Authority system, with 890,000 rides provided on this route in 2012 alone. The improvements will benefit current riders and help attract new riders to the Route 55 Bus Rapid Transit-Lite line that opened in the spring of 2013.
“This TIGER grant is a big win for the thousands of riders in Davidson County who depend on the Route 15 bus and the Route 55 bus rapid transit line to get to work, to medical appointments, to school, and other important destinations in Nashville,” Rogoff said. “This project will specifically help the community ‘Fix it First’ – making much-needed repairs and upgrades to an aging public transit system, making it safe, reliable, and desirable.”
The highly competitive TIGER program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for large, multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources. These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. The 2013 TIGER round alone supports $1.8 billion in overall project investments.