Laker Line funding in federal budget proposal

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new rapid transit bus line from Grand Rapids to Grand Valley State University is up to get $57 million from the federal government.

Wednesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that the money for the Laker Line is included in President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget. That budget has not yet been approved.

The 13-mile Laker Line is set to run between the Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids and Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus. It would be a bus rapid transit route, like the Rapid’s already running Silver Line.

A courtesy map showing the route of the proposed Rapid Laker Line.
A courtesy map showing the route of the proposed Rapid Laker Line.

In a Wednesday statement, Rapid CEO Peter Varga said the Laker Line “was one of only three projects to receive the highest rating given in the (federal investment) process, specifically in terms of the project’s cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits.”

Organizers previously said they wanted to have the Laker Line running by 2018.

The full statement from Varga:

“We are very pleased that the Laker Line is included in the President’s FY17 budget. Of the 32 projects that were considered, not only was the Laker Line chosen for federal investment, but it was one of only three projects to receive the highest rating given in the process, specifically in terms of the project’s cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits.

“Other factors that contributed to the project’s grant award are the successful implementation and continued progress of the Silver Line. The Rapid has shown its ability to develop and operate successful BRT service and demonstrate the return on investment the Federal Transit Administration expects when considering new projects. Strong community support, including the partnership with GVSU to provide operating funding for the line once it opens, also weighed heavily in our favor. Finally, the commitment from the Michigan Department of Transportation to provide the capital funding match needed to secure the grant was instrumental in the project being approved.”

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Online:

U.S. DOT Capital Investment Grant Program for 2017

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