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Grand Rapids still waiting for nearly $57 million from feds for new transit project

Jan 8, 2018

The Rapid bus station
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids officials must wait for federal money before continuing with a $70 million transit project.

The Obama administration promised the city nearly $57 million for the project, but Grand Rapids didn't receive any of that money during the 2017 fiscal year.

The Michigan Department of Transportation pledged to match the federal grant with $14 million for the project, but the Federal Transit Administration hasn't approved the grant.

The money could pay for a new line and additional stops for The Rapid bus system. Those improvements would primarily serve Grand Valley State University students and faculty.

Michael Bulthuis, a spokesman with The Rapid, says the project can't move forward without the money the city was promised.

“It's something we thought we'd have back in October, and we've done everything we can do at this point. We're just waiting for that final review process for those funds to be awarded,” Bulthuis said.

Bulthuis says no money from the recently passed regional transit millage will be used for the project.

“All that money we just raised through the transit millage back in November is for our actual operations, so none of that is going to get touched for this project,” he said.

Unfortunately for The Rapid, the state’s $14 million won’t be awarded until the federal grant money is already paid.