It looks like the BRT is OUT.
The Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) proposed the BRT – or “Bus Rapid Transit” – as a new way to shuttle people to and from downtown Lansing to East Lansing and Meridian Township.
The project would have used high-capacity buses in a dedicated lane.
But the proposal ran into opposition almost as soon as it was proposed. Meridian Township officials went on the record as opposing it. Michigan State University, East Lansing, and the local Chamber of Commerce had lots of questions and concerns.
But as recently as January, CATA officials said they were “highly optimistic” about the future of the BRT.
After months of trying to make it work, CATA plans to ask its board to discontinue the project.
Project Manager Brad Funkhouser cited two main reasons for the move.
The first is President Trump’s proposed budget – which Funkhouser says would end the Capital Investment Grants – the program that would have funded the BRT. There may be some money to finish funding existing projects, he said, but the future beyond that is unclear.
“It was pretty clear in that budget that he (Trump) wants that money out,” Funkhouser said.
The second reason is that he’s been working with the public to address their concerns and make the project more palatable. But he says incorporating those changes would now take $720,000 worth of modeling and design work.
“As good stewards of public money, I don’t think this is the best way to move forward at this point,” he said.
The CATA board of directors will vote on whether or not end the project at its meeting on April 19th.