APTA | Passenger Transport
January 31, 2011

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NEWS HEADLINES

DeFazio in Driverís Seat for New EmX Line

Steering a Lane Transit District (LTD) EmX bus rapid transit (BRT) vehicle, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) – former chair of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – drove through a giant banner to officially dedicate the new LTD Gateway EmX Corridor at a Jan. 14 event in Springfield, OR.

The Gateway EmX Extension is the second BRT corridor serving the Eugene-Springfield community in western Oregon. Four years earlier, LTD opened its first BRT corridor, connecting downtown Eugene and Springfield; ridership on the new line was double that of the regular bus service it replaced.

Together, the two EmX corridors operate on one 15-mile round-trip route providing fast, frequent, and reliable transit service to passengers traveling between downtown Eugene, downtown Springfield, and the growing Gateway area in north Springfield.

Joining DeFazio were officials including Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region 10 Administrator Rick Krochalis, Oregon DOT Director Matthew Garrett, Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg, and LTD Board President Mike Eyster. A crowd of about 100 people attended the event.

In his remarks, DeFazio heralded the extension as “great for Lane County.” He said: “The construction brought the community needed jobs and will promote economic growth in Springfield by linking the RiverBend and Gateway areas with downtown Eugene and Springfield. This project will move users seamlessly and efficiently between the two cities, and I am glad to have helped create the federal Small Starts program that allowed this project to become a reality.”

LTD initiated service on the extended EmX line on Jan. 9, ahead of the dedication event. To promote and celebrate the new service, agency staff greeted the public with free refreshments and a drawing for gift cards to merchants located along the EmX route. Radio personalities broadcast live music and highlighted the benefits of the new service. Hundreds of residents stepped aboard EmX as LTD provided free rides during the first week of the extended route.

Funding for the $41.3 million project came from FTA, $33 million; from the state’s ConnectOregon program, $5.4 million; and from LTD, $2.9 million. The project was completed after seven years of planning and nearly two years of construction.

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