GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - After years of planning and some regional opposition, The Rapid received $32 million in federal funding for the Silver Line that is designed to cut commute times between Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Kentwood.
The total cost of the project is $40 million. The remaining $8 million comes from the state of Michigan.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff announced the federal funding at a press conference at the Rapid Central Station Thursday morning. Others in attendance included Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll, Kentwood Mayor Richard Clanton and Rapid executives Peter Varga and Barbara Holt.
The Silver Line is slated to run along Division Avenue between 60th Street and downtown, and should be operational by August 2014. Riders will pay the same fares for the Silver Line as for the current Rapid busses.
"These are going to be brand new vehicles. They're going to have what's called single vehicle priority which means every time the bus approaches an intersection it's going to get a green light," Rogoff said. "That means for one-tenth the cost they're going to be able to provide the same speeds as the rail system."
He also said it will mean less traffic on US-131 during the morning and evening rush hours, and officials project it will slice commute times to downtown Grand Rapids from Wyoming and Kentwood by 40%.
In February, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Grand Rapids and announced he recommended more federal funding for the Silver Line.
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