The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the new Broad Street Bus Rapid Transit system has great potential to solve problems of unemployment and poverty and rejuvenate the region, according to officials.
“We’re going to make jobs available to people,” says Richmond mayor Dwight C. Jones.The new system will cut travel times and reduce traffic congestion, resulting in a faster public transportation option that will help people find jobs and get to work.
The federal grant for the program was announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. the $24.9 million dollar grant will cover almost half of the projected $54 million cost. Officials are aiming to have the line running by 2018.
The new bus rapid transit systems work to incorporate flexibility of street-running busses with the efficiency of light-rail systems. The new lines are expected to reduce up to 15 minutes off a trip on its 7.6 mile route.
In addition to creating jobs and making them more accessible, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said, “What this is going to do is open up the whole Richmond area,” adding that “it will help you have a good night out. Some of us do like to go out at night.”
While the overall impact can not yet be measured, state officials and Richmond residents are optimistic about the positive effects the new system has the potential to have.