Feds send $1.2M for transit development study



(The Center Square) — The federal government has awarded a $1.2 million grant to a three-county planning council in the Charleston area to study transit-oriented development tied to a bus rapid transit line slated to open in five years.

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments will use the federal tax dollars for the third phase of a TOD study. The study will focus on implementing affordable housing strategies along the proposed 21.3-mile-long Lowcountry Rapid Transit line.

The money, pulled from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which some call the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is part of $17.6 million the Federal Transit Administration dished out to 20 projects in 16 states. It will ostensibly “help create affordable places to live, while bringing down the costs of transportation for the people who live there,” FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool said in a statement.

The Lowcountry Rapid Transit line, which will have 20 stations and use 60-foot-long battery electric buses, is expected to start revenue service in 2029.

The project’s cost, with contingencies, is slated to be $625 million, a BCDCOG spokesperson confirmed to The Center Square Thursday. Officials are banking on a commitment of up to $375 million from the FTA and a $250 million local match from a 2016 Charleston County sales tax referendum.

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