A capital improvement in transit
RTA supports the bipartisan process for refreshing the draft transit plan in Wake County. Wake County has recently hired Kimley-Horn and Associates, an RTA Leadership Team member, to lead this important initiative. The consultant team also includes Jarrett Walker, who led a very well-received workshop on transit coordinated by the Urban Land Institute earlier this summer.
We will continue to engage in this effort to advance our transit future, and that includes our ongoing support for a bus rapid transit-based approach for Wake County, which can provide access to more regional destinations and support a broader population.
Our neighboring state capital to the north has embarked on a similar journey, and this weekend USDOT awarded Richmond with 50% in federal funding for a new $50 million, 8 mile long bus rapid transit line along Broad Street in the state capital. Richmond’s new BRT line will actually be a little longer than the renowned Cleveland HealthLine – and it will be open in less than four years.
The “Transportation – worth celebrating” editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Virginia capital’s broadsheet of record, is worth reading. It highlights the “soundness of the plan and the care and diligence with which backers have promoted it,” and speaks to the lower cost, highly flexible nature of BRT. It affirms the corridor as an initial investment, noting that “ultimately, we’d like to see BRT spanning the region.”
Given our population and dispersed spatial layout – and based what we have learned from recent RTA Leadership Tours and the speakers from the RTA Transit Innovation Series about the capabilities of a high-quality bus system with scalable bus rapid transit elements – we too have the opportunity to accelerate the development of an enhanced regional transit system with multiple BRT corridors as its backbone. With a future referendum vote on dedicated local funding potentially less than two years away in Wake County, we will get there.