OKC’s bus rapid tran­sit wins fed­eral grant

The Oklahoman - - NEWS - BY WIL­LIAM CRUM Staff Writer [email protected]­la­homan.com

Ok­la­homa City won a fed­eral grant this week for a bus rapid tran­sit line, a new op­tion for com­muters be­tween north­west-side neigh­bor­hoods and down­town.

Ser­vice could be­gin in 2023. Open­ing bus rapid tran­sit is the next step in build­ing a com­pre­hen­sive re­gional trans­porta­tion net­work.

Plans for the Re­gional Tran­sit Au­thor­ity en­vi­sion com­muter rail to Ed­mond and Nor­man, and ex­panded street­car ser­vice to Mid­west City and Tinker Air Force Base.

The $14.3 mil­lion BUILD grant from the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion was an­nounced Thurs­day — along with grants to Tulsa and the Port of Musko­gee — by Sen. Jim In­hofe.

“Fed­eral in­vest­ment in Ok­la­homa in­fra­struc­ture con­tin­ues to pay div­i­dends for cit­i­zens across the state,” In­hofe, R-Tulsa, said in a writ­ten state­ment.

The bus rapid tran­sit line will go up N Classen Boule­vard to the North­west Ex­press­way, then out the North­west Ex­press­way past Penn Square to Merid­ian Av­enue.

Bus rapid tran­sit uti­lizes ded­i­cated lanes and pri­or­ity at traf­fic sig­nals to cut com­mute times.

A re­port this week said the av­er­age com­mute time in Ok­la­homa City has crept up to 21.1 min­utes, from 20 min­utes in 2010.

Tran­sit Direc­tor Ja­son Fer­brache said the fed­eral grant is to be matched with $10.8 mil­lion in bond funds and $2.2 mil­lion in sales tax pro­ceeds, both ap­proved by vot­ers last year.

Other tran­sit funds to­tal­ing $1.5 mil­lion bring the project’s to­tal cost to $28.8 mil­lion.

En­hance­ments such as side­walks and bike lanes will con­nect to the route and are part of the de­sign.

The ser­vice would link to the down­town street­car line, pro­vid­ing an op­tion for reach­ing down­town of­fices, res­tau­rants, shops and en­ter­tain­ment venues with­out hav­ing to drive and park.

Fer­brache said de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing tasks would con­tinue through 2021, with con­struc­tion be­gin­ning in that same year. Ser­vice could be­gin two years later.

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