What needs to happen for BRT to become a reality in Pittsburgh?
Because BRT has the potential to truly transform and revitalize Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, we want to proceed carefully and with the buy-in of all Pittsburghers, particularly those that will be most affected by its implementation. A process like this one has many variables, but below you’ll find the basic steps to make BRT a reality:
Step 2: Study the Neighborhoods and Develop Preliminary Plans
The Stakeholders have contracted with Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) to complete an analysis of the best alternatives to bring BRT to the corridor. Along with this analysis, called the Alternatives Analysis (AA), PB is also conducting an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine what impact BRT might have on every neighborhood.
Both will be complete by Fall 2012.
Step 3: Choose the Best Plan
PB will take the results of the AA and EA and provide a report for the public to review in the Winter of 2012. As part of the process, the public can help shape the decision by weighing in on the proposed alternative plans.
Using all of the public input, the results of the EA and AA, and with guidance from all of the Stakeholders in the process, the Port Authority and PB will select the best plan to propose to the federal government. This plan, called the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), will be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in Spring of 2013.
Step 4: Get Funding
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will determine if this project should be funded through the Small Starts Program, which funds projects with less than $250 million total costs with Federal contributions under $75 million. At the same time, the Port Authority can request advanced approval to perform Preliminary Engineering to get one step closer to a final design. At this time, additional funding sources will be secured with a combination of federal, state, local, private and institutional sources.
If the project meets all FTA requirements and all funding has been secured, the FTA will prepare a Full Funding Grant Agreement which specifies the project will be built with federal funds.
Construction begins, including the installation of new stops and stations, modification of traffic signals, development of new communications systems and purchase of new vehicles. Depending on the scope of the final design, this would likely take one to three years.
Note: The Background & Milestones document provides a more in-depth overview of the process.