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December 2, 2020 Progress Report: BRT Project

Above: Rendering of East-West BRT Station Design

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County and the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) expect significant progress for the East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project during the final weeks of 2020.

Milwaukee County anticipates executing a Small Starts Grant Agreement (SSGA) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in December. The executed SSGA will mark the Federal Government’s official commitment of $40.9 million, covering about 80 percent of the $55.05 million project.

The final grant agreement will clear the way for selecting a construction contractor in early 2021. The project team recently released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), the first step in the two-step selection process for a construction contractor. Qualification packages from potential contractors are due on December 22, 2020. For more information on this process, please click here

Construction is slated to begin in Spring 2021, with revenue service starting as early as Fall 2022.

Additionally, the project team is currently working to select a vehicle manufacturer for 11 battery-electric buses. This modern technology will provide a quiet, comfortable, sustainable vehicle that allows for easy boarding. The manufacturer is anticipated to be selected by the end of December, and vehicle delivery is anticipated in Spring 2022.

For more than three years, Milwaukee County has been working collaboratively with the City of Milwaukee, the City of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (MRMC), Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC), residents, local businesses, nonprofits and institutions — to bring the nine-mile, regional transit project to the state.

The East-West BRT, which is a first-of-its-kind project in Wisconsin, will allow MCTS to better connect major employment, education and recreation destinations through downtown Milwaukee, Marquette University, Milwaukee’s Near West Side, Wauwatosa and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

BRT passengers will enjoy a more efficient, higher frequency service thanks to the utilization of battery-electric buses, dedicated bus lanes along parts of the route, traffic signal priority at select intersections, off-board fare collection, optimized stop locations, state-of-the-art boarding platforms, and other exciting amenities.