Chapel Hill Transit recently received a medium rating from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the North-South Bus Rapid Transit Project (N-S BRT), making the project eligible for about $100 million of federal funding.
“The project has an estimated cost of about $140 million, and projects such as the N-S BRT and other similar projects typically will compete for federal funding to help pay for a percentage of the project,” Chapel Hill Transit Director Brian Litchfield said. “For our project, we’re looking at, of the $140 million, about $100 million potentially coming from a federal source.”
The NS-BRT project, connecting Eubanks Road Park and Ride to Southern Village Park and Ride, will run 8.2 miles along the corridor, with 15 proposed stations in between. The corridor will also contain bicycle and walking paths, to make traveling the corridor faster and safer for each form of travel.
“It would not replace all local bus services, there’d still be some local bus services in there, but it would basically be the north-south route that operates today but operating with dedicated lanes and higher service frequencies and weekend services, as well,” Litchfield said.
Litchfield said an overall medium rating is required to be considered for federal funding. He said a medley of factors goes into the FTA rating, such as land use in and around the corridor, economic development, plans, policies and performance within the corridor.
Carrboro Town Council Member Damon Seils said Chapel Hill Transit’s lowest individual category rating, a medium-low, is in the land use category.
“So, what they’re doing in giving that rating a medium-low, is they’re telling the Town of Chapel Hill you need to do a little more thinking about how to help make this project successful in this corridor and that means some smarter planning around the station areas,” Seils said.
Litchfield said with $100 million expected to come from the FTA, the other $40 million needed for the project will be from the state and the Orange County Transit Plan.
“The current project budget assumes about $100 million on the federal side, about $35 million from the state," he said. "And again, while those are the amounts that we’ll ask for, those may or may not be the that amounts we receive, and then the remainder would be funded through the Orange County Transit Plan, which has currently committed $14.1 million to the project."