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Allegheny County Ready To Reapply For $98 Million In BRT Funds

Margaret Sun
90.5 WESA
The region's proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system would include improved stations, dedicated lanes and help buses move in and out of Downtown more easily.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is putting the finishing touches on its second application for $98 million in Federal Transit Administration funds to help build a Bus Rapid Transit project in Pittsburgh.

The nearly $200 million BRT would run between downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland on dedicated lanes and continue on to Wilkinsburg via the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway.  One branch of the BRT would go to Highland Park and another through Squirrel Hill and Greenfield.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the new application is on track to be submitted by September 7.

This incarnation is pretty similar to the first one submitted last year, he said.

“[The last application] received extremely high marks,” Fitzgerald said. “I think it was one of the top-graded transportation projects in the country.”

The new version includes a “Frequency Preservation Plan” that reverses proposed deep-service reductions to some Pittsburgh neighborhoods and parts of the Mon Valley, and instead prioritizes service for riders without bus alternatives.

Fitzgerald said that they are not being dissuaded by what he calls the “turmoil” going on in Washington.

“When the federal government is ready to start authorizing some big transportation projects, Allegheny County and the BRT will be right at the top of the list.”

Port Authority officials are hoping for a response by early next summer.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
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