President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for the upcoming year, released Friday, includes $80 million to help fund Madison’s planned Bus Rapid Transit system.
The city requested half of the cost of the $160 million project, slated for completion in 2024, come from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Small Starts program. The rest of the money will come from federal grants already received and local funds.
“This is great news for Madison,” Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said. “It means we are on track to deliver a fast, efficient and comfortable rapid transit system to our residents — one that will help people get to work, school, shopping and recreation easily and quickly.”
Next steps for the city’s BRT project include finalizing the design with the expectation that the federal support will come through in summer 2022 and construction will begin by the end of next year. The city’s Urban Design Commission on Wednesday selected a design to serve as the basis for about 30 BRT stations along the system’s east-west route.
The winning design, featuring a skylight and programmable LED lights that could change colors, will be handed over to a consultant for the city who will ultimately determine what the final look will be based on feasibility.
The BRT system, a priority for Rhodes-Conway, is a high-frequency, high-capacity, limited-stop service using 60-foot-long buses on city streets and dedicated lanes along East Washington Avenue, around the state Capitol building, through the UW-Madison campus, continuing west on University Avenue and Mineral Point Road and going to West Towne Mall.