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Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce announces opposition to CATA’s current Bus Rapid Transit plan

Tuesday, August 23, 2016  
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LRCC calls for comprehensive regional transportation plan citing business community's concerns regarding current Bus Rapid Transit project

The Board of Directors of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) has voted to not support the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System that the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) has proposed for the Michigan Avenue corridor. The proposed BRT route extends along Michigan Avenue from the State Capitol in downtown Lansing to the Meridian Mall. The decision not to support the BRT system comes following months of research on the part of LRCC including trips to other communities that have invested in similar systems, policy committee meeting with Chamber members, a presentation from CATA leadership and a member survey.

“While we appreciate CATA’s efforts in developing and presenting the BRT concept to our region, we continue to have concerns that prevent us from supporting the current proposal,” said Joe Ford, chair of the LRCC Board of Directors. “Feedback from our members and the business community and other concerns has led us to conclude that the current BRT plan is not feasible for the corridor.”

Among the concerns that have been raised in regard to the proposed BRT system include a lack of other viable options, no clear revenue projections from the proposed BRT route, significant disruption from the loss of the center turn lane for businesses along the corridor, addressing long-term operational costs, and how funding gaps will be filled if federal and state funding falls short.

“This has been a difficult decision for us. The Chamber has been a strong advocate for the development of the Michigan Avenue Corridor as a top priority for the Greater Lansing region,” said Tim Daman, LRCC president and chief executive officer. “We understand the critical nature of public transportation, however, in this case we believe other options need to be considered.”

Among the options LRCC would like to see developed are a BRT system with curbside loading, a Capitol to Campus route as well as a comprehensive regional transportation plan including scheduled service in Delta Township and improved connectivity to major employers in Metro Lansing as well as improved service to Capital Region International Airport.

“We support and believe further investment in the Michigan Avenue corridor is critical to our region’s economic growth and success,” said Ford. “Let’s begin by investing in road reconstruction, sidewalk and curb repairs, and improved lighting.”

In a recent LRCC member survey, an overwhelming 66 percent of members said they were opposed to the current BRT plan while 75 percent would like to see a more comprehensive regional transportation plan providing access and connections to Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties.

“We believe infrastructure investments we are advocating for are desperately needed to support the more than $300 million in planned economic investment along the Michigan Avenue corridor to continue to move our region forward,” said Daman.

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