Gov. Kulongoski, Sen. Wyden & Congressman DeFazio tout federal stimulus investments in mass transit
The Lane Transit District will receive approximately $2.9 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve bus transit in Eugene-Springfield
(Eugene) - Today Governor Ted Kulongoski, Senator Ron Wyden, and Congressman DeFazio toured the Lane Transit District’s Gateway EmX project, which received $2.9 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to enhance rapid bus transit in Lane County.
The ARRA funding is contributing to the “Gateway EmX Extension”, which will extend the existing EmX service to the Gateway area of Springfield. When the Gateway EmX Extension service becomes operational, each EmX vehicle will travel the entire route from downtown Eugene to downtown Springfield to the Gateway area, and back again.
“When the civic leaders of the Eugene-Springfield area first envisioned the EmX system they saw it as a way of boosting mass transit,” Wyden said. “Little did they know that by 2009 it would also boost the local economy by putting people to work creating a modern and efficient transportation system.”
The $41 million project will create 400 jobs during its two-year construction phase and will improve the transportation system in Eugene-Springfield for the long term. Ninety-three percent of the cost will be funded by federal and state construction dollars, including $5.4 million from ConnectOregon I grants. LTD is investing a local match of nearly $3 million.
“This project is a model for how local, state and federal partners can work together to improve and expand transportation options for Oregonians,” Governor Kulongoski said. “The federal dollars, combined with state and local contributions, will deliver cleaner air, jobs on the ground and improve the quality of life for the citizens in the Eugene-Springfield metro area.”
The federal and state governments have been helping fund rapid bus transit projects because they are a cost-effective option to enhance significantly transit service and reduce the number of cars on the road.
“LTD’s current bus rapid transit service in Eugene-Springfield has been a huge success and surpassed 20-year ridership projections in the first year. The money LTD received in the ARRA to complete the Gateway EmX Extension will provide clean, efficient transit for thousands more people every day and will build on the success of the Franklin corridor BRT service,” DeFazio said. “These are the kinds of concrete investments in our infrastructure that put people back to work and produce a product for generations to come.”
Construction of the Gateway EmX Extension began this spring and will continue through fall 2010. During 2009, LTD and its contractors will build the dedicated lanes along Pioneer Parkway and on International Way. The EmX stations will be constructed in 2010 and service is expected to begin by the end of 2010.
“The Recovery Act funding serves as the capstone for the Gateway EmX Extension project,” emphasized Mike Eyster, LTD Board president. “Now LTD now can work full-steam ahead to complete construction and begin service by the end of next year.”
Anna Richter Taylor (Governor), 503-378-6169
Courtney Warner (Oregon Economic Recovery), 503-378-3554
Tom Towslee (Sen. Wyden), 503-326-7539