Gov. Rick Snyder at bus station groundbreaking - 4/11/13
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Gov. Rick Snyder and other officials are in Grand Rapids today, breaking ground on a new Rapid bus station for the new Bus Rapid Transit line.
"This is really a big day. I'm proud to be with you," says Governor Rick Snyder as he met with community leaders at the Beltline Bar on 28th and Division Thursday morning.
Snyder called Greater Grand Rapids a role model for other communities in the state. He says it took teamwork to bring the first BRT line or Bus Rapid Transit system to Michigan. "Now, why is it important? It's simple; it's about people's livelihoods."
The bus system, called the Silver Line will be 9.6 miles long. The Rapid CEO, Peter Varga, says it's like a light rail system, but only one-tenth of the cost. "The vehicle will stop at the station; people will board and de-board from all bus doors. They've already paid and the bus moves forward."
The route will go to Michigan Avenue at Medical Mile, take a loop around downtown, and then head south to 60th Street.
"The station will be 40 feet long with a 60-foot platform. The reason it's 60 feet, is eventually we'll use longer buses to accommodate the service levels that we're developing." There will be 33 bus stops along the corridor. "It will have priority on the signals, so it keeps signals green, as you go into corridor, so you can always keep the schedule."
State and federal funds and a property tax millage passed in 2011 will help pay for operations. Some have called the Silver Line a waste of money that will be underutilized. Supporters like Governor Snyder call it a lifeline for residents, as it will help them get healthcare and to their jobs.
Construction on the Silver Line has already started. It will be ready for use, in August of 2014.