Further opposition to CATA Bus Rapid Transit proposal

(WLNS) – The controversial plan by CATA to change their routes has faced further opposition from the community.

The Bus Rapid Transit plan, which CATA says is needed to address buses being too crowded, has been a controversial topic for months.

The new bus line would use a center lane in traffic to run along the corridor that stretches from near the Capitol to the Meridian mall area.

The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce released a statement saying they voted against the plan, and reasons behind that opposition align with topics already touched on by local business owner and other community boards and groups, the main one being the plan is just not what the community wants or needs.

“The current plan as it is not economically feasible for the corridor and the infrastructure we have in place today,” Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce President Tim Daman said.

Daman says CATA has continued to push their plans to change lanes and routes, so the chamber’s move to put the brakes on the plan is just another attempt to have the transportation business steer in another direction.

“There needed to be other options to be considered and right now, there wasn’t,” Daman said.

Some of the main issues listed were the center lane for buses hurting businesses by nixing left turns, the lack of break down for prices and project costs, and ultimately not taking everyone’s opinions into consideration.

“I think the business community feels that their voice hasn’t been heard or hasn’t been listened to,” Daman said.

The Meridian Township Board of Trustees is one of many groups that has openly opposed the transit plan, and Trustee Milton Scales says, if CATA would listen to the community, it would be clear just how unfavorable the idea is.

“When you have the business community coming together against something you have to ask yourself, who’s in favor of it,?” Scales said.

While members of the community fight the plan, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says the proposition is exactly what the area needs.

“Really adequate public transportation is what’s lacking, exciting public transportation that’s that the BRT is, Bus Rapid Transit, Better Rapid Transit,” Mayor Bernero said.

CATA gave 6 News a statement from Marketing Director Laurie Robinson saying CATA is considering the Chamber’s concerns.

CATA is considering a variety of options that they believe will address concerns from businesses about losing the center lane.

The statement also touches on the Chamber’s concerns over a funding gap stating:

“CATA has clearly communicated the revenue sources to construct the BRT, which is currently projected at $133 million. Grants are available to fund construction at $133 million. There is no funding gap.”

CATA has until October to revise their plan before moving forward with construction.

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