GRAND RAPIDS (AP) – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday gave the ceremonial green light to a rapid bus line in Grand Rapids.

The Republican governor joined other state and local officials for a groundbreaking event for the state’s first Bus Rapid Transit line. Construction on the first of 33 stations began last week for the $40 million Silver Line, which is expected to be ready for riders in August 2014.

The rapid transit line along Division Avenue in West Michigan’s largest city is designed to travel as fast as a light rail system but at a fraction of the cost. It will feature prepaid fares, raised platforms, traffic-signal priority and semi-exclusive lanes during rush hour.

The project is primarily funded by the federal government but includes state money. Snyder said the Silver Line can be a model for other transit projects and planning across the state.

The federal government earlier this year committed $25 million to build a light rail line through the heart of Detroit. The rest of the $140 million tab for the 3.3-mile streetcar line along Woodward Avenue will be funded by a public-private partnership with significant donations from companies whose workers are commuting from revitalized neighborhoods to offices downtown.

Construction could begin later this year, with service starting in fall 2015.

(Project details here).

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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