The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) launched its BusPlus Purple Line bus rapid transit (BRT) on Nov. 5, which will run from downtown Albany along the Washington and Western Avenue corridors to Crossgates Mall. The Purple Line will run fare free for the first two weeks of operation.
The Purple Line will connect customers with downtown Albany, the College of St. Rose, Harriman Campus, University at Albany (the uptown and downtown campuses) and Crossgates Mall in Guilderland. The Purple Line will also connect to the existing Red and Blue BRT Lines, giving fast, reliable and improved access to destinations along the corridor.
“Ten years ago, I stood with Carm Basile at the College of St. Rose and committed to building on the success of the BusPlus Red Line, with a vision for a 40-mile network of bus rapid transit in the Capital Region,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who delivered the $60-plus million in funding needed to make the Purple line possible. “After years of relentless advocacy, the BusPlus Purple Line has finally arrived for Capital Region commuters and completes that vision. I’m thrilled to see that after delivering nearly $115 million in federal investment to help CDTA realize this dream, Albany riders will now have fast, accessible and affordable access to destinations across the Capital Region. Reliable transportation connecting key areas of the city will help to revitalize the local economy in an environmentally friendly way. I am proud to have helped the Purple Line become a reality for Capital Region commuters and to complete 40 miles of a bus rapid transit system that is the model for cities across upstate New York.”
In 2020, CDTA noted Schumer secured $60.9 million (which ultimately grew to $63.5 million) in federal funding to implement the Purple Line. The funding came from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant Program (CIG), which Schumer began his push for in 2013.
Schumer said the project cost $81.2 million in total. The $63.5 million from the FTA funded 75 percent of the total cost to implement the new line. The New York State Department of Transportation contributed an additional $11 million, or 13.5 percent of the total cost, and the CDTA contributed $9.3 million, or 11.5 percent of the total cost.
In addition to helping secure the $63.5 million for the new Purple Line, Schumer also previously helped secure $18.5 million in federal funding for the Red Line connecting Albany and Schenectady. In 2019, Schumer helped CDTA to secure $32 million from the CIG program for the Blue Line.
“It’s a proud day for CDTA, as we launch our third bus rapid transit Line,” said CDTA CEO Carm Basile. “The Purple Line completes a network of bus rapid transit lines that connect people along some of the most densely populated and heavily traveled corridors in the Capital Region. Thank you to our CDTA family and Board of Directors, who remained committed to this effort and got the work done to make three BRT’s a reality. Sen. Schumer has been a tremendous partner and advocate for us in Washington, helping us to secure funding for the construction of these lines and the purchase of buses and other equipment needed to operate the BRT. He helped us build a reputation with our partners at the Federal Transit Administration as a can-do organization with the people and the know how to build and operate advanced transit services.”
“UAlbany students, faculty and staff are already the largest users of CDTA and the launch of the Purple Line is another major milestone in improving the accessibility and sustainability of our campuses,” said University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez. “The Purple Line is not only our favorite color, but seamlessly connects our Downtown Campus, ETEC building, Uptown Campus and the Albany NanoTech Complex with faster and more convenient service. Better service makes public transit even more appealing and helps reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. I’m also thrilled the newly completed CDTA Busway along Alumni Drive adds to the pedestrian infrastructure that already makes our Uptown Campus a beacon for walkers and cyclists. We are truly grateful to Sen. Schumer for being such a forceful advocate for high-quality public transit and to Carm Basile and CDTA for their leadership and 10 years of partnership in realizing this ambitious vision.”