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Charleston rapid transit project receives $100M funding boost

Jason Thomas //May 11, 2023//

Charleston rapid transit project receives $100M funding boost

Jason Thomas //May 11, 2023//

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The proposed bust rapid transit system route would parallel Interstate 26. (Rendering/Provided)

A long-planned rapid transit project in the Lowcountry has received a sizable funding boost from the federal government.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has recommended that the Lowcountry Rapid Transit project receive $100 million as part of President Joe Biden's fiscal year 2024 budget request to Congress.

The Lowcountry project was one of 18 large transit projects in 11 states across the nation totaling $4.45 billion in recommended funding.

The projects will improve how people travel in their communities, create and sustain jobs in construction and operations and help communities provide better, more frequent transit service, according to a news release from the Federal Transit Administration.

“Transit connects people to jobs, schools, loved ones and more,” Buttigieg said in the release. “We’re proud to deliver this funding to expand transit across the country, which will create good-paying construction jobs and provide better options for people to get where they need to go.”

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The listed projects, which require a local funding match, seek funding through the Federal Transit Authority’s Capital Investment Grants and Expedited Project Delivery Pilot programs, the release stated. The report allocates $2.85 billion in annual appropriations requested from Congress and $1.6 billion in FY 2024 funding provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Federal support will begin to flow to project sponsors only after the FTA signs a grant agreement.

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments’ Lowcountry Rapid Transit project, which will be South Carolina’s first rapid transit project, is a 21-mile system parallel to Interstate 26 that will connect the Ladson area with downtown Charleston and includes the purchase of 19 electric buses.

According to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), bus rapid transit systems includes dedicated lanes, busways, traffic signal priority, off-board fare collection, elevated platforms, and enhanced stations, according to LCRT’s website.

Construction of the project is expected to begin in 2026.