August 12, 2016
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COTA Breaks Ground on CMAX BRT Line; Stitt: Line 'Has the Potential to Change Lives'

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) broke ground for its first BRT service—the CMAX Cleveland Avenue Line, scheduled to enter service in 2018—at ceremonies Aug. 4 at the future site of a CMAX station.

“CMAX will not only improve transportation in central Ohio, it has the potential to change lives,” said W. Curtis Stitt, COTA president/chief executive officer. “The high-frequency service with improved travel times and upgraded customer amenities will enhance access to jobs, education and training opportunities, healthcare and other services in our community.”

The launch of work on CMAX follows DOT’s selection of Columbus as the winner of its Smart City Challenge. The “Smart Columbus” coalition, which includes COTA, will receive a $40 million federal grant, a $10 million pledge from Vulcan Inc. and local business pledges totaling $90 million.

In the “Commentary” in the July 4 Passenger Transport, Stitt noted the importance of CMAX to a transportation corridor and neighborhood cited in the city’s Smart City Challenge application.

“CMAX will significantly improve connectivity and access to opportunity along Cleveland Avenue by connecting the Linden neighborhood with Downtown Columbus, educational institutions, health care and the many employment opportunities available in the fast-growing Polaris development,” he wrote.

When it opens, CMAX will operate every 10 minutes on a 15.6-mile route with 64 stops, complementing regular fixed-route service on COTA’s second busiest line. It will operate in dedicated lanes in downtown Columbus during rush hours and part of the route will use traffic signal priority to keep the buses moving.

COTA projects that daily CMAX ridership will be 20 percent higher than current levels on the line.

Funding for the $48.6 million project includes a $37.4 million Small Starts grant from FTA and the balance in local funds. Major capital investments include specially-designed low-floor BRT buses from Gillig, powered by CNG, new or enhanced stations, a new public transit center and upgraded park-and-ride lot, roadway improvements, right-of-way acquisitions and easements and a transit signal priority system.

COTA President/CEO W. Curtis Stitt speaks at ground-breaking ceremonies for the CMAX BRT line.

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