(ABC 6 News) - Rochester's bus rapid transit (BRT) project received the support of the federal government Friday as U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg announced a recommended $2.5 billion budget for new and expanded public transit services across the country, including $56.1 million for Rochester Rapid Transit.
U.S. Federal Transit Administration has recommended funding for Rochester Rapid Transit as one of two Minnesota transit projects in its Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Capital Investment Grants (CIG) report also released Friday..
Rochester City Council President Brooke Carlson welcomed the news. 'We are excited by this positive indication from the FTA and appreciate the work to get to this point and will continue pushing for funding for this important regional asset'
'High-amenity public transit is among the most catalytic of public infrastructure investments,' said Patrick Seeb, executive director of Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency. 'Rochester Rapid Transit will advance our transportation goals and provide opportunities for future transit oriented development. We are grateful for the efforts locally and in Washington to advance the project.'
Rochester Rapid Transit is a critical 2.6 mile transit project that will connect downtown Rochester, the Mayo Civic Center, Mayo Clinic campuses, and the Rochester-Olmsted Government Center.
The corridor is one of the most heavily used corridors in the city of Rochester, carrying more than 21,800 vehicles and 13,000 transit riders each day. This project would significantly reduce congestion; connect people to jobs, health care, education, and recreation; and support economic development in the region.
Rochester's two U.S. Senators also shared their support for the proposed funding.
'Investing in public transit creates jobs, reduces traffic, and ensures Minnesotans are able to travel to school, work, and other destinations safely,' said Senator Klobuchar. 'The Federal Transit Administration's recommendations include critical grants for our state's transportation infrastructure, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Washington to continue pushing for funding to improve transportation across Minnesota.'
'We need to create an economy that works for everyone, and connect people with opportunities all across the state,' said Senator Smith. 'These projects will help us achieve that goal by providing important transportation options for Minnesotans in Rochester and the metro area. What's more, these investments will support many jobs during construction.'