Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced April 24 that the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC), the city of Richmond and Henrico County are collaborating on a TIGER grant application for funding to construct the Broad Street Bus-Rapid Transit system.
The 7.5 mile Broad Street BRT system would improve reliability and travel times for transit riders, and support economic development throughout the Broad Street Corridor.
“Improving and expanding Virginia’s transportation system in order to grow our economy is one of my highest priorities,” said McAuliffe. “The Richmond BRT is exactly the type of project that we should be advancing to improve the lives of the Virginians we serve. It will be affordable, provide Richmond residents with more transportation choices and help link people with businesses and jobs across the region.”
The Richmond BRT route would travel along Broad Street from Willow Lawn through the heart of the capital region, connecting VCU campuses, providing access to employment and businesses, making healthcare facilities accessible, and offering convenient transportation to tourist attractions within the region. The project would provide a one-time local benefit of $41.5 million, while also creating 406 jobs for the area. The annual economic benefit is anticipated to be $7 million.
“Transportation is an essential part of daily life,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Linking the regional economy together through a better transportation network is something we’ve been working toward for the employment and economic development needs of our city, and the Richmond BRT project is a critical and important step in that regard.”
The Richmond BRT project has been in development since 2009 and is expected to be ready for design in the near future. The design phase of the project will cost $4 million, and is planned to be funded with a mix of state-controlled federal funding, state funding, and local funds coming from the city of Richmond. The total cost of final design and construction will be $49.8 million. GRTC, as the project sponsor, is working with DRPT, the city of Richmond and Henrico County to submit an application for funding through the TIGER Discretionary Grant program.
The TIGER grant program is a highly competitive federal grant program investing in road, rail, transit and port projects across the nation that deliver five long-term outcomes: safety, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, livability and environmental sustainability. There is $600 million in available funding for this year’s program, and the Richmond BRT project is seeking $24.9 million of this funding, which is 50 percent of the cost of the project. The remaining construction costs would be split among DRPT, the city of Richmond and Henrico County.
The Commonwealth should know by the fall whether the Richmond BRT project will be awarded any TIGER Grant funding, and all parties involved remain positive that the project will continue to be competitive and will obtain funding to see it through to fruition. A round of public meetings is scheduled for May 20th and 21st in Richmond to provide the public an opportunity to comment.