CapMetro gets $38-million federal bus grant for rapid transit in Austin


MetroRapid bus system will supplement existing MetroRail

AUSTIN — Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff was in Austin Tuesday to announce a $38 million federal grant to Capital Metro to bring a new, high-capacity transit service, MetroRapid, to Austin’s busiest streets in 2014.

“With the signed funding agreement, Capital Metro is able to proceed full-steam ahead to build this incredible new rapid transit service that will directly benefit almost 25 percent of the entire service area,” said Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson. “MetroRapid will connect neighborhoods, workers and students to universities, state offices, high-tech companies and regional retail and medical centers.”

Plans for MetroRapid include two high-capacity, rapid bus lines along North Lamar/South Congress and Burnet/South Lamar—the densest and highest ridership transit markets in the region. Capital Metro anticipates more than 20,000 daily boardings when the service begins in 2014.

MetroRapid will feature sleek, modern buses with greater passenger amenities on the bus and at the station. Limited stops, multiple-door boarding, signal priority technology, and dedicated bus lanes through the heart of downtown translate into quicker travel times. MetroRapid will offer all-day service with 10-minute frequencies during rush hours.

The federal funding from the FTA’s Very Small Starts program will fund a full 80 percent of the $47.6 million total project cost to get MetroRapid rolling down Austin’s streets. State and local officials joined Administrator Rogoff at Republic Square Park today to make the funding announcement and tour a portion of the MetroRapid route through downtown, as well as ride MetroRail.

“Austin has a lot to be proud of, and we are going to continue to build a world-class transit network that will connect our region,” said Austin City Councilman and Capital Metro Chairman Mike Martinez. “Continued coordination between Capital Metro, the city of Austin and other regional transportation providers and the federal government will ensure Austin remains a great place to live, work and play.”