Monday, November 23, 2009
The Port Authority of Allegheny County is hoping to get federal stimulus funds to speed up its efforts to launch a “rapid bus line.” PAT has applied for $80.7 million in federal economic stimulus funds for the project to link Downtown and Oakland with the new service. PAT spokesperson Jim Ritchie says this is not another busway, “This is bus service on streets that already exist but only stopping every few stops.” He says that would make the commute much faster. He says the authority is already moving forward with the plan using existing capital dollars. It will take several years to build up the needed funds but the stimulus dollars would allow for the implementation immediately and the expansion of the effort to include more real-time monitoring of the system. Ritchie says the goal would be to use a different kind of bus than the ones used on the traditional routes, “We envision using buses that have more seats, we envision using buses that are more distinct in color or shape or something like that, that people would instantly recognize coming down the street.” The system would also include new shelters with special message boards updating the status of the next bus. Ritchie says the authority should know this spring if it has the won the competitive grant.