U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Jan. 31, toured the nearly completed East-West Circulator Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in downtown Orlando, a project that reflects how transportation can help create the type of economic opportunities President Obama called for in his State of the Union address.
The BRT project will offer free transportation to thousands of hard-working families who need reliable access to Orlando’s major employers, schools, health care facilities and other services. Secretary Foxx was joined by U.S. Representatives Corinne Brown and Alan Grayson, along with other state and local officials.
“In his State of the Union Address this week, President Obama called on us to build new ladders of opportunity to help more families join America’s middle class and to give them a shot at creating a better life for their children,” said Secretary Foxx. “This project is a great example of how Orlando’s growing network of transit buses will connect families from communities like Thornton Park and Parramore with access to jobs, education and basic necessities like the grocery store.”
The new East-West BRT line, scheduled to open this spring, will connect area residents with several employers, like the Federal Courthouse and the Orange County Health Department, as well as such attractions as the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, under construction, the Amway sports center, and a new soccer stadium.
“We applaud Orlando’s vision and support for an efficient, reliable and connected transportation network that gives thousands of hard-working families greater access to jobs and other opportunities,” said Deputy Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan. “This new bus line, along with the new SunRail commuter line that’s opening soon, will make a huge difference for all the men and women, from stage hands to cleaning crews, who work hard to make Orlando so successful.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing approximately $8 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds toward the $10 million East-West BRT project. In addition, the Department has committed $178.6 million in FTA New Starts funding for construction of the first phase of the SunRail commuter rail project, and $13 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funding for construction of a third BRT line to link the Parramore neighborhood—one of Orlando’s lowest-income neighborhoods—to other rapid bus and commuter rail service. Construction of the Parramore BRT line is expected to begin this spring.