Las Vegas rapid bus project receives $150 million federal boost

April 3, 2024

The Department of Transportation has made $150 million available to the city of Las Vegas to add rapid bus lines connecting destinations such as downtown, the University of Nevada campus and Harry Reid International Airport.

The improvements will center on a 12.5-mile route along Maryland Parkway, where 7.2 miles of dedicated bus lanes will be added from downtown heading south through the university district to the airport. Some traffic stops will also be redesigned to give buses priority.

“This project will deliver a cleaner, better, faster commute,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in a press release.

Currently, Maryland Parkway is mostly a six-lane road with no dedicated bus lanes. The redesign will add medians with landscaping, and new bus lanes will also be the designated lane for bicycles. The project includes 42 new bus stop shelters, and in total, it is expected to cost $378 million, with just under half coming from the federal grant.

The $150 million comes from the Federal Transit administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program. The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act gave a major financial boost to the program with up to $4.6 billion per year the FTA can give out to expand public transportation options.

The funds will also allow the city to purchase 15 hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses to serve the new rapid bus route. The 60-foot-long buses will also stop at the Bonneville Transit Center and South Strip Transit Terminal, where riders will be able to catch 25 connecting bus routes.

More than 650,000 people call the city of Las Vegas home, and about 90,000 of them live along the Maryland Parkway corridor. There are about 80,000 jobs in the corridor, and currently, about 9,000 people in the area ride the bus every day.

“Maryland Parkway’s value as a major corridor that connects residents to jobs, education, medical services, shopping and neighborhood services, cannot be overstated,” M.J. Maynard, CEO of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, said in a press release.

The Federal Transit Administration estimates the new rapid bus routes will cut down previous travel times 20%. “While Las Vegas is normally thought of as a tourist mecca, we know that thousands of Nevadans depend on transit to move them around this growing, thriving city,” said Veronica Vanterpool, acting administrator for the FTA.

“The faster, more reliable, more convenient service provided by Bus Rapid Transit has created an economic boost for communities across the country,” Vanterpool said. “We know it will bring that same impact to workers, students, and others who call Las Vegas home.”

Photo courtesy of RTC

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