Contact: Angela Gates
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today celebrated the grand opening of the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. The new system will significantly improve transit options in the greater Grand Rapids area and offer faster, more convenient access to major downtown employers along one of the city’s busiest commercial corridors. FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan joined Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle, The Rapid Board Chair Barb Holt and Chief Executive Officer Peter Varga, and other local officials at a ribbon-cutting event.
“The Obama Administration is proud to partner with Michigan to improve transportation options for students, families, seniors and other residents in Grand Rapids who need and deserve a reliable option for getting to work, school, medical appointments and other opportunities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Congress should pass the President’s GROW AMERICA Act so we can invest in more good projects like this one that offer access to ladders of opportunity across the country.”
The new Silver Line is operated by Interurban Transit Partnership, known as The Rapid. The 9.6-mile route operates primarily along Division Avenue, serving residential areas along the corridor and major employers such as St. Mary’s Medical campus, the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and the Cook-DeVos School of Nursing. Compared to non-BRT service, the Silver Line is faster because it eliminates the need for transfers between stops and uses dedicated bus lanes for much of the route.
“The Silver Line is an excellent example of bus rapid transit that’s done right—offering a convenient and reliable travel option for thousands of residents in the Grand Rapids area,” said FTA Acting Administrator McMillan. “This new service will cut commuting times nearly in half for many workers, students and seniors in Kent County who are traveling to jobs, school and medical facilities in downtown Grand Rapids and the Medical Mile, while helping to reduce congestion on US 131.”
The FTA contributed approximately $32 million toward the $40 million total project cost, including $19 million through its Capital Investment Grant Program and $13 million through its Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program. The remaining cost is covered by state funding.