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$20 million federal grant will build new bus station in downtown Raleigh

Triangle visits Richmond, VA, to ride Pulse bus rapid transit system

A group of Triangle residents visited Richmond, Virginia, to ride the Pulse, the city’s new bus rapid transit line. Raleigh, Cary, Wake County and Chapel Hill plan to build similar BRT systems in coming years.
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A group of Triangle residents visited Richmond, Virginia, to ride the Pulse, the city’s new bus rapid transit line. Raleigh, Cary, Wake County and Chapel Hill plan to build similar BRT systems in coming years.

Plans to build a new station for local buses on the west side of downtown Raleigh got a boost Thursday with a $20 million federal grant.

The money, awarded to GoTriangle, will be used to build a bus station adjoining Raleigh Union Station, the city’s new train station that opened earlier this year. GoTriangle has been working with the city on a concept called RUSBus — Raleigh Union Station Bus — to include six to 10 bays where local buses could collect and drop off passengers.

The federal grant was first announced by U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, who along with Rep. David Price have worked with the city and GoTriangle to secure the funding.

“This is an exciting day for GoTriangle, the City of Raleigh and our entire region because this facility is an important part of the transit network we are building together,” GoTriangle’s president and CEO Jeff Mann said in a statement.

RUSBus would provide a secondary destination for local and regional bus routes downtown, including the planned bus rapid transit or BRT lines that will radiate from the city center. Those buses will also continue to pass through the city’s main bus hub, GoRaleigh Station at Moore Square on the east side of downtown.

GoTriangle also expects to work with private developers to build retail, housing and office space adjacent to and above the bus station. With the federal grant secured, the agency plans to begin seeking bids on the project early next year, with a goal of opening in 2022.

Jessica Holmes, who heads the Wake County Board of Commissioners, said RUSBus is a key part of the Wake Transit plan, the 10-year, $2.3 billion effort to improve bus service and build a commuter rail line between Garner and Durham.

“It provides the connectivity and capacity we need for our expanded rail and bus systems to work together to get our residents where they need to go,” Holmes said in a statement. “The other exciting piece of the project is the new infrastructure it will bring to downtown Raleigh – hotels, offices, retail stores and affordable housing opportunities – all of which are important components to continuing our economic growth.”

GoTriangle already owns 1.77 acres just north of Raleigh Union Station where RUSBus would be built. The agency’s predecessor, the Triangle Transit Authority, acquired the property more than a decade ago for what it hoped would be a downtown commuter rail station. The property, bordered by West and Hargett streets, consists of two-story brick warehouse and office buildings, including the former headquarters of the Dillon Supply Co., which would be incorporated into the project.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s BUILD program, which made $1.5 billion available to multimodal transportation projects nationwide. The department received 851 eligible applications and chose to fund 91 projects, including three in North Carolina. In addition to the GoTriangle grant, the N.C. Department of Transportation will receive $23 million to replace about 77 bridges in rural counties, and the City of Hickory will get $17 million to develop a 1.7-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and overhaul a 1.2-mile loop road downtown.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, #census2020. He’s been a reporter or editor for 32 years, including the last 19 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.


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