Mar 13, 2024 - News

Federal Transit Administration recommends $140M for Chapel Hill's BRT plan

Buses used by the Chapel Hill transit system. Photo: Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Bus rapid transit momentum is building across the Triangle after Chapel Hill's North-South Bus Rapid Transit Project was recommended to receive nearly $140 million in federal money.

Why it matters: As dreams of commuter rail fade due to high costs, the region is increasingly turning to bus rapid transit, which provides bus-only lanes as well as faster and more frequent service.

A map of the proposed Chapel Hill bus rapid transit route
The proposed North-South Bus Rapid Transit Project in Chapel Hill. Photo: Town of Chapel Hill

State of play: Construction is underway on the first of four-planned bus rapid transit routes in Raleigh, going eastward from downtown down New Bern Avenue.

  • Durham still hasn't pursued plans for BRT, though Mayor Leonardo Williams tells Axios he's pushing his colleagues to.

The big picture: Chapel Hill's BRT project was one of 14 transit projects recommended for funding by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday.

Zoom in: Chapel Hill's North-South BRT line would stretch 5.7 miles, from Interstate 40 in northern Chapel Hill through UNC's campus down to Southern Village.

  • The project would provide bus lanes and stations that would connect residents to the college, the school's hospital and downtown Chapel Hill.
  • It's intended to "improve mobility and accessibility in the corridor's low-income communities," per the USDOT.

Between the lines: The Federal Transit Administration's funding request is just the beginning of negotiations with Congress, so it remains to be seen if the money will be included in a final federal budget.


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