AUSTIN, Texas — Capital Metro was recently awarded more than $65.6 million in grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as a part of Project Connect.
That money will go towards the Pleasant Valley and Expo Center rapid lines, which will be ready in 2025.
“A fast-growing metro area like Austin needs fast, frequent public transportation,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to help deliver the new Expo Center and Pleasant Valley bus rapid transit lines, which will give more Austin residents an affordable, sustainable, and convenient way to get to jobs, schools and downtown destinations.”
New electric battery-powered buses for the two routes will expand service without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, the Department of Transportation said. CapMetro procured nearly 200 electric buses last year to support the City of Austin’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
CapMetro also plans to roll out pre-boarding fare payment, traffic signal priority and improved station amenities, according to a release.
“We are pleased to support the Expo Center and Pleasant Valley BRT lines, which will improve travel times for many in the rapidly growing communities of east Austin,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said. “Investing in more transit in Austin will help the city offer a diverse network of travel options that provides people with access to opportunities and transforms lives.”
The Expo Center BRT project will connect Downtown Austin with major employers and medical facilities, including the Expo Center, the university and Dell Seton Medical Center. By 2040, CapMetro estimates the Expo Center BRT line will provide more than 2.3 million rides annually. The Pleasant Valley BRT project will connect several communities in East Austin to Dell Children’s Medical Center, Austin Community College Eastview and CapMetro headquarters. CapMetro officials estimate that by 2040, the Pleasant Valley BRT will provide more than 2 million rides annually.
FTA’s support for CapMetro includes:
- $30.8 million for the 12-mile Expo Center BRT line, which is estimated to cost a total of $48.5 million.
- $34.7 million for the 14-mile Pleasant Valley BRT project, estimated to cost a total of $52.7 million.
The funding comes from FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program, which received an increase in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – up to $23 billion, with $8 billion guaranteed to invest in new high-capacity transit projects – to help meet the growing demand for federal transit support across the country.
Projects accepted into the CIG program must go through a multi-year, multi-step process according to requirements in law to be eligible for consideration to receive federal funds, the Department of Transport said.