The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will receive $3.3 million from the American Rescue Plan for St. Petersburg’s Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Project.
The funding is part of the pandemic relief package’s $250 million Capital Investment Grants program, which will aid 22 transit projects across the country. Florida will receive about $35.2 million for three projects, including one in Miami and another in Jacksonville.
“Public transit opens new opportunities for people, and delivers environmental and economic benefits to communities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a news release. “We are delighted to provide support for these projects, which will help communities recover from the pandemic and bring public transit to more people in the months and years to come.”
The Central Avenue “SunRunner” Bus Rapid Transit Project is a 10.3-mile BRT line that will operate from downtown St. Pete to St. Pete Beach via the Central Avenue corridor. The project is currently under construction, and is expected to open in the summer of 2022.
PSTA received a $21.8 million federal grant last year for the project, too. That grant, combined with Florida Department of Transportation’s New Starts Program and Design Grant, plus contributions made by the city and PSTA, was meant to fund the $43.93 million project. The funding from the grant, however, will help the local government with shortfalls that occurred in response to the pandemic.
“This funding will help numerous communities across the country continue to protect jobs and advance important transit projects that otherwise might have been canceled or delayed due to the pandemic,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in a news release. “These federal funding allocations are so important for transit agencies struggling in the wake of COVID-19.”
In Miami, $29.5 million will help fund a 20-mile bus rapid transit line that will operate along an existing busway from the Dadeland South Metrorail station to SW 344th Street in Florida City.
The Jacksonville Transit Authority will receive $2.4 million to help pay for a 12.9-mile bus rapid transit line from the Convention Center in downtown Jacksonville to the Orange Park Mall in Clay County, via Florida State College-Jacksonville.