DOT funds Florida rapid transit project

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A $21.8 million Department of Transportation (DOT) grant award will fund the Central Avenue “SunRunner” Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The funding allotment to the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) via the DOT’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will aid the effort to provide faster, more reliable transit service from downtown St. Petersburg to the Gulf Beaches area.

“This $21.8 million federal investment in a new bus rapid transit system in the St. Petersburg area will provide residents with better access to employment, healthcare, educational opportunities, and other important services,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.

The scope of work calls for a 10.3-mile BRT line to be constructed by PSTA from downtown St. Petersburg to St. Pete Beach via the Central Avenue corridor, officials said, noting the total project cost is $43.9 million, with $21.8 million in funding through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.

“FTA is proud to join Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority in Florida to improve public transportation in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County,” FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams, said. “The Central Avenue BRT project will provide fast and efficient service, improving mobility and travel times in this busy corridor.”

Williams said the federal investment is an economic boost for Pinellas County, indicating the project would create jobs and help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.