Yesterday, The Rapid Chair Barb Holt, Grand Valley State University President Dr. Thomas Haas and American Seating Company Vice President,General Sales Manager Dave McLaughlin and Spectrum Health Senior Vice President of Public Affairs united to send a message to Congress that it’s time to find a long-term surface transportation bill.
The press conference was held at Grand Valley State University’s L. William Seidman Center where organization representatives spoke to the direct impact high-quality public transportation has had on the Grand Rapids area. Holt of The Rapid Board spoke to the necessity of federal funding to ensure The Rapid can continue to grow to meet the demands of ridership, as well as usher in the Laker Line, The Rapid’s proposed second bus rapid transit (BRT) line connecting the Grand Valley State University campuses in Allendale and downtown Grand Rapids. Dr. Haas shared insight on the importance of public transportation to the university, as well as the community connections it allows. Heacock spoke to the benefits of the Silver Line and the introduction of the Laker Line for providing access for Spectrum, where three percent of employees regularly ride mass transit and more than six percent right it at least once per month. And McLaughlin detailed the local economic value and job creation potential of transportation investment.
Following the success of the Silver Line, the Laker Line is the next proposed BRT project in our community. Project development is dependent on federal infrastructure funding. While this route improvement offers the potential for better connections for students, employees and the connection between federal investment and local jobs. The current federal transportation funding bill is set to expire on May 31, 2015.
To add to the excitement of what could come with increased federal transportation infrastructure funding, The Rapid featured a 60-foot articulated (bendy) bus as a demo from another transit system. The Laker Line BRT would feature articulated buses to meet increasing ridership demand that directly impact capacity on current 40-foot buses.
It wasn’t just the Grand Rapids area standing up for transportation, more than 300 other transportation agencies and organizations across came together to raise their voices for the cause.
View photos from Stand Up for Transportation day on The Rapid Facebook page.