Development of a 41-mile bus rapid transit project connecting three counties along Florida’s Gulf Coast took another major step forward today when the governing board of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) selected WSP USA to conduct a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study.
Bus rapid transit (BRT) is high-quality bus-based transit designed to provide fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services. The route under study begins in downtown St. Petersburg and travels north on I-275 through Tampa before ending in Wesley Chapel. The route will provide regional transit to Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.
“TBARTA is committed to developing a world-class regional transit system in Tampa Bay, and bus rapid transit moves us in that direction,” Jim Holton, TBARTA chairman, said. “It’s the right step at the right time.”
WSP USA is a worldwide transportation and infrastructure firm with local offices in Tampa. The company has experience in BRT development and funding, covering all components including bus lanes and busways, stations and maintenance facilities. Over a proposed 28-month timeline, WSP will coordinate with stakeholders and the public to develop design alternatives, study their social, environmental and economic impacts, and use the findings to develop an application for a capital investment grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The TBARTA contract is for three years in an amount not to exceed $5 million.
“Not only will this project provide a more extensive and efficient means to get people where they want to go, it will also serve as a catalyst for future regional transit development,” David Green, TBARTA executive director, said. “BRT is one of the fastest growing public transport systems, and Tampa Bay is increasingly a regional community with a need for enhanced connectivity that benefits residents, workers, and visitors.”