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Big grant for D.C. area buses

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a big round of federal grants for transportation projects that includes $58.8 million to establish a priority bus network in the D.C. area.

The federal program, known as the TIGER grants (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery), will pay more than half the cost of a local project to provide more efficient bus service along 13 transit corridors in Maryland, Virginia and the District "by investing in a bus transitway, bus-only lanes, transit signal priority, traffic signal management, real-time arrival technology and other enhancements," according to the announcement from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The money also will be used to build a long-awaited transit center at University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue on the border of Montgomery and Prince George's counties in the Langley Crossroads area. This is one of the most intensely used bus corridors in the Washington region.

Other improvements include bus bays and real-time bus information supporting a bus priority system on the I-95/395 corridor, according to the announcement.

While the funding will provide a big boost to the D.C. region's transit goals, it's a fraction of the $280 million the region had sought for a variety of transit and bike projects when the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments submitted its application in September.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it received more than 1,400 applications from across the nation seeking a total of almost $60 billion for projects. That was 40 times the amount available through the TIGER program.

See an interesting review of the grant application results by David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 17, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrobus  
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Now the MS 13 gang members will be able to get anywhere from Langley to terrorize the region.

Posted by: wpjunk | February 17, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious what the "bus priority system on the I-95/395 corridor" would entail. I assume no sort of specifics have been released. One of the problems with bus service in the express lanes on that road is that the buses lack the horsepower necessary to keep up with traffic. Once upon a time the buses that used that road were special models with stronger engines, but that's no longer the case and it creates some issues when the buses can't keep up on the uphill stretches. Given that yesterday the Virginia Senate passed the House bill that would allow 70-mph speed limits in barrier-separated HOV facilities--the bill now goes to Gov. McDonnell for signature--it becomes that much more of a problem to have buses poking along at 45 to 50 mph, especially when several of the exits are on the left.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 17, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with wpjunk. Gotta keep it mobile.

Posted by: TooManyPeople | February 17, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Gotta make sure we do everything we can for the lower class... make sure all the illegals can get to there next heist.. wtf america...

Posted by: rockettonu | February 17, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

So you all consider Upper NW DC and Georgetown to be "lower class"?

These bus routes would serve all areas, rich and poor, with better service, and provide a better alternative to crowded Metrorail.

Posted by: thetan | February 17, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I think it funny that riding the bus is considered "low class" while the subway is for professionals. Riding the subway is the most uncomfortable, aggrevating experience imaginable. You're packed onto the platforms and cars like cattle, you have to deal with all the beggers and weirdos, and never fail some fool hits you with their giant bag or backpack. Metro buses are almost luxurious compared to the subway.

Posted by: buffysummers | February 17, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree with buffysummers...if I could ride the bus from where I live to work, I would do so, just like I used to where I used to live. It's cheaper, more open, and just a more pleasent experience.

I'm glad the buses are getting some long over-due funding, but I'd like to see some improvements throughout the whole system...and better (more) service in the outlying VA and MD areas would be great too!

Posted by: akchild | February 17, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

So are they going to eliminate traffic lanes or fly over the gridlock?

Posted by: member5 | February 17, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

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