Bus Rapid Transit on Rt. 29?

According to Seth Rosen at the Daily Progress, a $138 million bus rapid transit (BRT) system might be in Charlottesville and Albemarle County’s future. Last week City councilors and County supervisors agreed to ask the Virginia General Assembly for permission to form a regional transit authority. The regional transit authority would possess the power implement bonds and fees to pay for an expanded bus network.

Officials estimate that it would take $138 million to lay down the asphalt and build the infrastructure required for BRT, and the annual operating cost would be about $10.6 million. The BRT system would have bus-only lanes on Route 29, and it would connect Downtown Charlottesville and the University of Virginia to the northern areas of the county including the airport.

According to Rosen, County Supervisor David Slutzky “is convinced that in the coming years there will be federal subsidies available that could cover most of the bill. As the next administration attempts to lower greenhouse gas emissions, he said, it would be looking to fund improvements to transit systems.”

Jim Bacon, lead-writer for Bacon’s Rebellion, thinks that “BRT might be a good idea for the Charlottesville area: I would like to see an authoritative analysis. But relying upon the federal government for hand-outs is not. If BRT makes sense, the region should find a way for riders, property owners, employers and other beneficiaries to pay the tab. Taxpayers from Dubuque, Iowa, should not pay for Virginians’ regional transportation projects any more than we should pay for theirs.”

Although I am in favor of public transit and I like the idea of BRT, I don’t know if BRT is the best solution for Albemarle/Charlottesville. I’d like to see a feasibility study comparing a BRT network to a light rail system. However, almost anything is better than the current road conditions on 29.

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  1. Sean Tubbs

    Hi! I’m Sean Tubbs, and I work for Charlottesville Tomororw. We recorded the discussion from the joint meeting of the City Council and the Board of Supervisors last week, and made it available as a podcast.

    Great blog, by the way! We’re enjoying it at the office.




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