JTA receives federal funding to complete final phase of First Coast Flyer bus program

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will now be able to move forward with the final phase of the First Coast Flyer program thanks to millions of dollars in federal funding.

The Purple Line is the Southwest corridor of the city's rapid bus transit initiative. It will run from the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center downtown to the Orange Park Mall with stops on Blanding Boulevard and Florida State College Kent Campus, according to JTA.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today that JTA will receive $16.6 million through a Capital Investment Grant. JTA says that will complement $8.3 million from the Florida Department of Transportation that has been matched by $8.3 million from JTA.

The First Coast Flyer Purple Line will include 24 transit signal priority devices, 22 platforms at 13 stations and 15 buses, according to JTA. It will cover 12.9 miles.

JTA says about 42,000 people live in the area that will be served by the Purple Line and that number is expected to swell to about 63,000 by 2035.

The new service is expected to be underway by December 2020.

The First Coast Flyer buses come more frequently and make fewer stops than regular city buses. The Red Line is the most recent stretch to serve the city, and it started operation from the beaches to downtown late last year.

JTA says when the network is complete, it will be the largest rapid bus transit corridor in the Southeast with 57.76 miles of service. It comes with an overall cost of $137.6 million, and JTA says the U.S Department of Transportation gave $88.6 million of that.

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