East-west rapid transit route revisited
With downtown Madison becoming more and more congested and commutes from the east to west sides of Madison getting longer, the city of Madison is again looking for a solution. It is considering adding bus rapid transit (BRT) on a route from East Towne Mall to the west transfer point at Tokay Blvd. and Whitney Way.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the 60-foot-long buses with limited stops could help move people in a more efficient manner and relieve pressure on Madison Metro bus service. The initial route would come with a $40 million to $60 million cost, and a full build out, adding routes heading north and south and covering about 25 miles, would cost about $155 million.
If the city moves forward, it would first have to secure funding to build a $39 million 165,000-square-foot bus garage on Nakoosa Trail and Commercial Avenue. Federal funding could cover 80% of that cost. The initial corridor could be completed in three to five years, according to Madison Metro, which estimates that operations of the initial route could cost between $2.4 million and $3.2 million annually. That would jump to about $9.8 million annually for the full, 25-mile BRT system, which could take about 10 years to complete.