BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama Representative Terri Sewell (D-AL 7) announced Monday that a $20 million Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation has been awarded to Birmingham. Sewell advocated for the City of Birmingham’s application to use the money in order to construct a 15-mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. The project plans to connect 25 West and East Birmingham neighborhoods that are on opposite sides of the city.
This TIGER Grant, or Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) is a competitive grant program that issues projects for economic development in a given area. The program will work to connect urban and rural areas stimulating employment, education, and workforce development growth.
“I am proud to have helped secure this $20 million TIGER Grant for this critically important project. Birmingham is a City on the rise, and this project will support our efforts to improve our public transportation, and revitalize the Magic City,” said Rep. Sewell.
The proposed route will connect neighborhoods as far west as Legion field and as far east as the airport to downtown, which could relieve interstate and highway congestion as well as provide an affordable public transportation option for those further from the city center.
The city’s public transportation situation has long been viewed as one of the obstacles most hampering Birmingham’s recent revival; as businesses and jobs have begun returning to the Magic City, so has bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic.
The BRT will use the new intermodal transportation hub, which will also serve Amtrak, intercity bus providers such as Greyhound and Megabus, as well as the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority’s MAX city bus service.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell says that Sewell’s successful mission will have a lasting positive impact on Birmingham communities for years to come.
“The significance of this funding is that it allows us to connect the eastern and western parts of town with the city center providing access to jobs, education opportunities and healthcare in a transformative way. This was a collaborative effort and our thanks go out to the team of people that worked to secure this grant, especially Congresswoman Sewell who made it her mission to get it approved,” said Birmingham Mayor William Bell.
“This is a wonderful day for the Birmingham-Jefferson County (BJCTA) area,” said Rev. Patrick Sellers, the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority Board Chairman. “We can now move towards the next generation of public transit in the area with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). This funding will help us continue toward our mission to provide world-class transit service that is convenient, reliable and safe.”
According to the Department of Transportation policy, applicants of the TIGER Grant must have detailed plans of their projects under five long-term goals: safety, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, quality of life, and environment sustainability.
Congress has enabled TIGER to receive more than $4.1 billion to fund projects since 2009. These projects are said to have had significant impact on the United States regional and metropolitan communities.
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— John James (@john_james_20) August 19, 2015