Pittsburgh Regional Transit Executes $150 Million Grant Agreement With FTA For BRT Project

Pittsburgh (PA) Regional Transit (PRT) has executed a grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the final step of securing all federal funding for the Downtown-Uptown-Oakland Bus Rapid Transit project. The FTA announced in 2020 it would allocate the funding for the project, and has since then developed, reviewed, and approved the grant that has now been awarded.

“The $150 million grant means the project has all funding in-hand to construct the $291 million system, which will provide more reliable, convenient, and faster service with improved amenities, safety features, and transit connections in downtown Pittsburgh, Uptown, and Oakland,” according to a press release.

“The Downtown-Uptown-Oakland BRT line will improve transit speed and reliability on one of the highest transit ridership corridors in Pittsburgh,” FTA Deputy Administrator Veronica Vanterpool said. “We are pleased to support this project that will better connect communities to jobs and education.”

She joined PRT and local officials at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to announce the grant award.

The BRT line — dubbed The University Line — will include 23 new stations, exclusive transit-only and bicycle lanes, intersection improvements, and accessible ramps.  PRT serves more than 30,000 people a day in the Downtown-Uptown-Oakland corridor, connecting the second- and third-largest job centers in Pennsylvania, and five universities — University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Point Park University, and Carlow University.

“The people in our neighborhoods are the greatest winners,” Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said. “We’re thankful for the Federal Transit Administration’s assistance in securing the money needed for this city to grow and allow the project to finally happen. This will help make the connections in growing business and development areas as well as improve the ability of people to get to and from work. This is how we continue to make this a city that people want to come back to and make their home.”

Infrastructure upgrades will be designed to improve safety, speed, and efficiency of the buses that operate within the corridor and provide riders with more amenities at each station, like benches, ticket vending machines, increased lighting, and security.

“The University Line will improve transit service reliability, reduce bus bunching, and will allow PRT to redeploy the hours saved elsewhere in the county. The University Line is also expected to help spur development and create additional residential and business opportunities,” according to a press release.

In addition to the $150 million grant from the FTA, The University Line is being funded through the American Rescue Plan ($19.3 million), the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program ($9.3 million), Allegheny County ($30 million), the City of Pittsburgh ($8.8 million), and PRT ($73.6 million).

In March, PRT’s Board approved a $28 million contract with Independence Excavating Inc. for the first phase of construction in downtown Pittsburgh. Construction is expected to begin this fall. Visit rideprt.org.

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