U.S. Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Congressman Paul D. Tonko today announced $60,900,000 in federal funding for the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), allocated by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s Capital Investment Grant Program. Specifically, this grant will provide funding for the Washington/Western Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project, creating an 8.5-mile-long BRT line that will connect the corridor from the downtown Albany Bus Terminal to the Crossgates Mall. The corridor will include stops at the SUNY Albany Campus, the Harriman State Office Complex, and residential and commercial neighborhoods along Western Avenue and Washington Avenue in downtown Albany.
This project will provide reliable transit service to this corridor and encourage the development of transit and pedestrian-oriented economic development and revitalization. The funding announced by the lawmakers will allow the project to advance to the next phase of development, with service anticipated to start in 2022. Federal funding for the project is expected to cover 75% of the project cost, with the remaining 25% coming from the state and CDTA.
The representatives also explained that by increasing the access to local businesses and shopping centers, the new service will stimulate economic development and, specifically, act as a catalyst for revitalization of the urban neighborhoods that surround its stations.
“After years of work and relentless advocacy, the Rapid Transit Bus has arrived for Capital Region commuters and it is chock full of federal cash. I have long championed the CDTA’s innovative and impactful Bus Rapid Transit vision and am very pleased that, as promised, we are delivering the federal investment to further realize this vision, which will do so much to improve transit for Capital region commuters,” said Senator Schumer. “Reliable transportation connecting key areas of the city will help to revitalize the Capital Region economy in an environmentally friendly way. I am proud to deliver this funding for the CDTA and will continue to support its long-term vision for Bus Rapid Transit as I have in the past.”
“Public transit is critical for New Yorkers and the new BRT line will serve as an essential lifeline for many commuters as we start rebuilding our economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our transit systems and infrastructure keep our communities moving and this vital addition will help to better connect neighborhoods and businesses across the City of Albany and the Greater Capital District. I will continue to fight for critical public transit funding so the CDTA has the resources needed to continue serving New Yorkers.”
“CDTA has been an exceptional source of leadership and vision for years, helping build lasting economic capacity and vitality in our home communities, including their proposal and advocacy for this worthy transportation project. My colleagues and I have long fought to deliver this needed federal support that we know will make a major difference for our Capital Region. I am delighted that they and our entire region will finally benefit from this long-overdue federal support,” said Congressman Tonko.
The FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program provides discretionary grant funding for public transit capital projects, including rail, bus rapid transit, and streetcars. This program was funded at $1.9 billion in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Appropriations bill.
Senator Schumer began his push for this federal funding in 2013. Schumer also previously helped secure federal funding for the BRT line on Route 5, which has been a resounding success, and, in 2019 Schumer helped CDTA to secure $27M from the FTA program for the River Corridor line, which is currently under construction.