The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on May 12 participated in the grand opening of the MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, which will reduce commuting times and traffic congestion along a five-mile stretch of Fort Collins’ major employment corridor.
FTA Regional Administrator Linda Gehrke was joined by Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat and other local officials at the South Transit Center station opening event.
“President Obama understands that transportation opens doors to opportunity, and providing faster, more convenient bus service will help the residents of this vibrant city succeed,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The four-year transportation bill we recently sent to Congress will help us build more good projects like the MAX Bus Rapid Transit line, tackling our infrastructure deficit and connecting more Americans to work, education, and health care.”
The MAX BRT system serves 12 new stations along the Mason Corridor, from Cherry Street to south of Harmony Road. Roughly 60 percent of all Fort Collins jobs are located within one mile of the Mason Corridor. With a dedicated guideway for nearly three-quarters of the corridor, and priority at traffic signals, MAX BRT is expected to operate more efficiently than auto travel along College Avenue. Riders will have easy access to several employers, including the offices of the City of Fort Collins and Larimer County, as well as access to Colorado State University, Foothills Mall, and the South College retail area.
“We applaud Fort Collins’ vision of offering truly seamless transportation choices for thousands of residents – from the new MAX BRT line to other local Transfort bus routes, regional transit, and an extensive bicycle and pedestrian trail system,” said FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan. “The future of this city, and our nation, depends on making sustained investments in projects like this one that promote economic growth and opportunity for generations to come.”
The MAX BRT line has been an economic boon to the region, generating approximately 1,000 construction jobs and spurring local economic development along the route, including construction of hundreds of new apartment units and over 21,000 square feet of planned retail and office space.
FTA funded $69.5 million, or 80 percent, of the total $87 million project; the remainder was funded by state and local sources, including the City of Fort Collins and Colorado State University.
The Department recently unveiled the Grow America Act, a bold $302 billion, four-year national vision for an aging transportation network and a growing population, all without adding to the deficit. The Grow America Act would invest $72 billion in public transportation alone to address the urgent transit challenges facing our urban, suburban and rural communities. The Act provides a nearly 70 percent increase in authorized funding for public transportation over the current transportation law, MAP-21