GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A project to create a high speed bus line in Grand Rapids is getting $32 million dollars in federal funding.
The announcement was made Thursday in Grand Rapids by Peter Rogoff, head of the Federal Transit Administration, who called it "a huge quality of life changer for the people of this metropolitan area".
The Rapid's Silver Line would run along Division Avenue from Grand Rapids central business district to 60th Street in Kentwood. Rogoff said the Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT project, would be 40% faster than traditional busses, since they would travel on dedicated lanes, always get green lights, and have passengers buy tickets in stations en route.
"This is going to provide the same travel speed as light rail but with one tenth the cost - it's a great investment of tax dollars" Rogoff said.
The State of Michigan agreed to contribute $8 million dollars to the project. The state and federal funds will build stations, buy busses and other capital costs. Some of the operational costs will come from a Rapid millage passed last year.
The Rapid began considering expanding its service in 2008, but voters turned down a tax increase tied to the high-speed project in May 2009. The millage hike narrowly passed last year.
In February, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation recommended $15 million in federal funding go to the Silver Line.