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As you may recall, DART is planning to apply for a $20 million dollar federal grant for the capital improvements associated with the Ingersoll/University proposed BRT route. As part of our requirements for that application, DART needs to find a $5 million local match. There was a possibility of receiving $2 million in local match from the state legislature.
In budget negotiations this past weekend, that funding was removed from the budget and there’s no longer any reasonable hope for its restoration, at least not this year.
So far, between the City of Des Moines, Polk County, Nationwide and several other companies, DART had already raised about 30% of the total. The money from the State of Iowa would have got us to our goal more quickly.
The project is not dead, just delayed. DART still has plenty of support for the project and BRT is still a goal for us. And in the meantime, we have a lot of groundwork to lay and documentation to gather for the FTA Very Small Starts grant application. So we’re still marching in that direction, we just won’t be able to file the grant as soon as we thought.
The DART Commission is still supportive of the idea and we’ll redouble our efforts to raise the local match. It’s a great project with a ton of benefits for the citizens of Des Moines and employers to boot. So, stay tuned and we will let you know what happens. Or, follow the local coverage in the news for the most recent updates. Here’s a recent blog post in the Register.
Thanks to all of you DART supporters out there who came to public meetings to support the idea. We’re still committed to making Bus Rapid Transit a reality in Greater Des Moines.