The New Britain to Hartford bus way is expected to begin operating in 2014.
On Monday morning, a federal grant agreement was signed at a ceremony at Central Connecticut State University.
The total cost of the project is $567 million, of which the state will fund $112, and there is mixed response.
The busway has been in the planning stages for 13 years and there will be 11 stations along the 9.4 mile corridor.
Supporters say this will alleviate heavy traffic on Interstate 84, but opponents say it is too expensive.
“The New Britain-Hartford Busway is a significant project that will create jobs and expand transportation options by making Union Station a true intermodal hub, spurring transit oriented development, and relieving congestion on I-84,” U.S. Rep. John Larson said in a statement on Monday. “Failure to act on this project would have cost Connecticut significant federal funding and vital jobs that our construction industry has been looking for throughout our area.”
State Senator Joe Markley has been against the project.
"Nothing will stop us from fighting this outrageous busway boondoggle, which is a massive waste of taxpayer money and a monumental example of government arrogance. Every dollar spent on it, state or federal, will be a dollar wasted—that’s what we aim to prevent," he said.
Larson said that the federal money for this project could not have been transferred to another project.
Work on the bus way will begin in Spring 2012 and DOT Commissioner James Redeker said it is expected be up and running in 2014.
“If we’re going to reinvent Connecticut, we need to re-imagine how we can improve our transportation infrastructure, and we do that by utilizing transportation options never before offered in the state,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
The bus way is expected to create or sustain an estimated 4,000 short-term construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs, according to the governor, and provide a projected 16,000 passenger trips per day.
Malloy said the bus way will make direct connections to points west along I-84 and with businesses, hospitals, schools and cultural attractions. The projected travel time is 20 minutes, compared with the existing CTTRANSIT bus, which takes between 42 and 52 minutes depending on time of day.
It will also incorporate a shuttle service to the Central Connecticut State University campus and improve access to Elmwood, Westfarms Mall and the UConn Health Center. It will also include a five-mile multi-use trail for walkers and cyclists
In April, Malloy allocated $1 million for a rail study between Bristol and Waterbury.
Do you think the bus way is a good idea or not?