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Laker Line receives federal funding scheduled for 2020 completion


The Laker Line has officially been given the green light with the approval of government funding. The Laker Line operating primarily along Lake Michigan Drive (M-45) will replace The Rapid’s Route 50 with bus rapid transit between Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus and downtown Grand Rapids Pew Campus – and – the Cooke Devos Center for Health Sciences along the Medical Mile.

WGVU spoke with the U.S. Representative who helped secure its funding.

“We think this is a justifiable expense that will really benefit the community.”

Republican U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga of Zeeland helped secure a federal grant that will pay for up to 80 percent of the $70 million project. It will pay for enhanced, articulated buses shuttling riders between Allendale and Grand Rapids carrying a maximum 90 passengers.

“Obviously we’ve seen tremendous growth at GVSU over the last number of years and this ability to link Allendale and Standale and downtown Grand Rapids I think is good not just for students, it’s good for our whole entire community.”

The bus rapid transit, or BRT buses, will receive traffic signal priority moving an average of 8,000 daily users more quickly from point A to point B saving time, money and energy.

“Each of these projects has to go in and get a review and compete against other projects. And we felt very comfortable that this was something that we could go in and advocate for. That it was a good use of money. We know that here in West Michigan organizations tend to make every nickel scream and get used properly and they’ve had a good track record with that. So, that all is part of the scorecard that gets developed as to the determination of funding a project like this.”

The Laker Line will operate 16 BRT buses. Construction of Laker Line stations will begin this spring with completion in 2020.

Grand Valley State University will pay for Laker Line operating costs through 2023 as part of an existing contract.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.