Daily Caller News Foundation

$87M rapid bus service not expected to help congestion after all

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Greg Campbell Contributor
Font Size:

A new $87 million bus rapid transit system funded mostly by federal dollars will not have its intended effect on traffic, Fort Collins admits.

The city estimates that the expensive new project, which will operate on newly built roads for buses only, will reduce traffic congestion by only 2 percent by 2035, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

The Federal Transit Administration picked up 80 percent of the tab for the new project, totaling $69.6 million. Local and regional transit groups shouldered other costs, with Fort Collins paying only about $4-$5 million of the total.

Since funding for the project was approved in 1997, the bus service — called Fort Collins MAX — was touted as an important way to fight congestion on the college town’s main north-south thoroughfares.

“Transit riders will benefit the motoring public by reducing the number of vehicles on the roads, thereby reducing traffic congestion,” according to the project’s master plan. That document estimated that the bus service would result in removing 2,800 cars from the roads each day.

Some who were skeptical of the project say the 2 percent improvement over the next 22 years isn’t worth the money.

“I see MAX as just a huge waste of resources that could have been used to solve a much more significant problem,” Clarke told the Coloradoan. “MAX is just another example of squandering resources and forcing people to do things they don’t want to do.”

Supporters say that even though the new buses will do virtually nothing to ease traffic congestion, the bus corridor will encourage denser development around the bus stations, which will help reduce reliance on cars.

“We’re building these types of facilities for the development we will have 15, 20, 30 years from today,” Kurt Ravenschlag, the director of Fort Collins transportation department, told the Coloradoan. “We know we will be growing. What we’re trying to provide is a viable option for those who chose to use it.”

He added that traffic in the college town is going to get worse as it grows, with or without the new bus service.

“[The service] is going to make it less worse,” he said.

The U.S. Transportation Department approved $54.5 million to the bus project in 2012 “to reduce commuting times and traffic congestion and spur economic development.” The FTA had earlier contributed $14.9 million for project planning. The bus service will open in early 2014.

Follow Greg on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Greg Campbell