RTA’s Bus Rapid Transit East-West Bank Corridor project resolution approved by New Orleans City Council

Today, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced the approval of the resolution by the New Orleans City Council regarding RTA’s Bus Rapid Transit East-West Bank Corridor project from the New Orleans City Council.

Bus Rapid Transit is a high-capacity and high-quality rapid transit system that uses buses to offer a service that operates much like a rail system. Rapid transit systems often include dedicated lanes, traffic signal prioritization, and stop features to achieve the function of rail at a fraction of the cost.

Despite overwhelming support for the route in the public comments at City Council’s Transportation Committee meeting in February, the committee ultimately decided to defer the decision to allow time to modify the resolution language to ensure the state and federal budget processes.

“We appreciate the New Orleans City Council’s deliberative and thoughtful consideration as well as their willingness to be a partner in our mission to more efficiently get our people to where they need to go,” said Lona Edwards Hankins, Chief Executive Officer, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. “I especially wish to thank District D City Councilmember Eugene J. Green, Transportation Committee Chair, for his leadership on this collaboration. We are proud of the extensive outreach and engagement we conducted with our riders, our community partners, and our elected officials to create a plan of which everyone can be proud. We remain committed to continuing the dialogue with all of our stakeholders, listening to their needs and concerns, so that we always center the community in our process going forward.”

“This will help us work toward fulfilling our commitment to fast, reliable, world-class transit service for the Greater New Orleans Region,” Ms. Hankins continued. “We know that RTA is one of seven of the 50 largest U.S. cities without rapid transit. Embracing this approach is a major step toward incorporating some of the nation’s best practices into our transit system in a way that serves all our residents’ needs.”

“Thank you to the New Orleans City Council for helping us get one step closer to addressing the critical issue of serving our riders as efficiently as possible,” said Board Chair, Commissioner Mark Raymond, Jr. We know how challenging it is for our riders on the Westbank and New Orleans East to make their destinations quickly and on time. Often, their jobs depend on it.”

Bus Rapid Transit has the potential to reduce public transit commute times from 90 minutes to 60 minutes, terminus to terminus. In a robust outreach and engagement process, the RTA participated in over 67 unique meetings or to get input in the initial design of the BRT route. Plus, RTA generated nearly 1,000 survey responses.

With this project, RTA seeks to:

  • Improve equity in transportation;
  • Provide relief from traffic congestion and parking;
  • Enhance and grow neighborhoods;
  • Grow our economy;
  • And enhance New Orleans’ competitiveness among other major U.S. cities that are already moving in this direction.

With its approval from the New Orleans City Council, the RTA will be able to apply for federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, for 50% of estimated $250-$350 million cost of the project. RTA will hire an engineering team immediately to begin developing design in collaboration with the community.