The initial estimate for the “hybrid” design assumed a $500-$550 million price for the highway portion of the project and $300 million for the bus line and stations. However in a March 25 letter to federal officials expressing interest in a $150-million grant for the project, DOT listed the highway portion of the project at $650 million.
DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin said the $650-million estimate included the possibility that the project could be expanded to include repair of additional structurally deficient bridges, such as one at Plainfield Street. He could not immediately say whether the total price tag, including the transit component, would then grow to $950 million, or whether the state’s share of the project would still be $400 million.
Do we think we’ll be told the project is going to cost a billion dollars before or after they start construction?
Commenting on the proposed $300 million busway on Routes 6 and 10:
Where is the demand for that going to come from?
To my knowledge: Existing lines using Route 6 from I-295 to the Route 10 junction:
Route 9X (Pascoag) 5 per day in, 6 outbound
Route 10X 1 bus per day both are weekdays only, none on weekends or holidays
So, on that stretch, on average now about one bus about every 100 minutes!
On route 10 south of Router 6: during rush hour inbound 6am to 9am:
Route 21 (Garden City) has 7 trips
Route 30 (Oaklawn) has 5 trips. Combined, 12 trips at rush hour, on average a bus about every 15 minutes.
Combined on the 6-10 connector at rush hour, on average about 11 minutes between buses, less frequent at other times
There are a lot of locals thru Olneyville Square on lines 17, 19, 27, 28, ,but they serve the Broadway or Westminster neighborhoods too, it takes them 10 to 15 minutes from KP to Olneyville. If they had access to the expressway, perhaps a few could run express, and if there were to be a boulevard, some could use that.
Some south county expresses that use I-95 might get routed via a Route 10 busway though it is a bit longer.
To justify $300 million for a busway is going to need a very different operating plan, though no such plan was ever envisioned in RIPTA’s strategic plan. Passengers who use RIPTA are skeptical about the busway, among other things they suggested speeding up ALL the buses with green light extensions for buses on all key routes.
A $300 million busway also removes much chance of any further use of the existing rail corridor, which also connects to Pawtucket, for local rapid transit. Note there are no express buses between Providence and Pawtucket on I-95.
We do have a problem with our bus transit system, Peter Alviti publicly and correctly called it a “failure” due to our low commute ridership. But his expensive 6-10 busway is not likely to be much of a solution which would have more to do with parking policy, fares, and the perception buses are just for the poor. Symbolic of that at this time of year: The RI Division of Taxation on Capitol Hill gives driving directions without noting that three good bus lines (50, 56, 57) stop right outside their door. Of course, no bus shelter there since only riffraff are expected to wait there.