$24.9M federal grant awarded to C-Tran

Traveling between downtown Vancouver and the city’s eastern neighborhoods on public transportation will be getting easier thanks in part to a $24.9 million federal grant.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration announced Friday it was awarding C-Tran with a construction grant for the Mill Plain bus rapid transit project.

“This project will connect the people of Vancouver to jobs, education, service and health care, all while helping reduce transportation’s carbon footprint,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a press release.

The 9.9-mile BRT project is similar to C-Tran’s Vine route on Fourth Plain Boulevard. It includes construction of 21 new stations, including a new nine-bay transit center and the purchase of eight new BRT vehicles.

It will also feature near-level boarding, enhanced pedestrian access to stations, off-board fare payment and enhanced safety and security.

“FTA is proud to join our partners in Washington to expand bus rapid transit service and improve transit connections to downtown Vancouver and other important destinations,” said Federal Transit Administration Administrator Nuria Fernandez.

The Mill Plain project will serve major employment areas and activity centers, including Clark College, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, the Vancouver Clinic and the Columbia Tech Center.

The total project cost is $49.9 million with $24.9 million in funding coming from the capital grant. Eric Florip, C-Tran’s public affairs coordinator, said the remaining funds for the project will come through other federal and state grants, along with $7.3 million from C-Tran.

Fernandez will join C-Tran and other state and local officials in Vancouver on Tuesday for a groundbreaking event for the project. Construction will occur in phases beginning this fall. Florip said the line is expected to open in 2023.