CATA pumping the brakes on controversial “BRT project”

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – After years of planning and months of trying to persuade Meridian Township officials, the city of East Lansing, Michigan State University and the local Chamber of Commerce that the “Bus Rapid Transit” project was moving in the right direction…CATA is now pumping the brakes and putting a stop to the project.

“We want the public to trust CATA, we want the public to say that we’re transparent and so at this time we believe that it’s in the best interest of the public that we serve that we suspend the project,” said CATA’s BRT Project Manager Brad Funkhouser.

The $133-million “Bus Rapid Transit” proposal has been a hard sell ever since it was announced 7 years ago.

Officials have run into multiple road blocks and had very few supporters along the way.

But now, Funkhouser says there’s more than one reason to pull the plug on the project…President Trump’s federal funding won’t pay for it and…

“We found that we’re probably going to have to do another $720,000 worth of engineering work, traffic studies,” Funkhouser stated.

Former Meridian Township Trustee Milton Scales says calling quits on the “BRT” is a wise decision on CATA’s behalf.

“That is a very good move and is a step in the right direction in rebuilding their credibility,” said Scales.

Scales is among those who say the project was a bad idea from the beginning.

“I thought it was a little ridiculous to say well this money is here so we better take it and use it…I just don’t think that’s good public policy,” Scales added.

Howeve, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero disagrees.

“It was a very intriguing project on one of our most important thoroughfares…Michigan avenue so you know let’s go back to the drawing board,” said Bernero.

And that’s exactly what CATA plans to do…

“I think that we will come back soon with ideas on how to improve service along that corridor,” said Funkhouser.

Funkhouser says ridership has dropped drastically the past few years so he says CATA’s next move includes figuring out how to increase that.

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors will meet next Wednesday to vote if the “BRT project” will in fact be tossed out for good.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated as this story develops.

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