By Gunnar Sadowey
Birmingham’s City Council has announced plans to launch the Birmingham Xpress (BX), a regional public transport system connecting 25 neighborhoods by bus within Jefferson County.
According to Birmingham’s City Council website, “BX will employ Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) technology to provide a high-quality public transit system that delivers fast, reliable and cost-effective mobility service for citizens and visitors.”
Ultimately, the plan for the BX is to be finished and functioning before the World Games of 2021, taking place in Birmingham from July 15-25, 2021.
“The city’s objective is to have an operating transit system in place before The World Games 2021 that can be leveraged to continue city transit to benefit the citizens and the economy,” according to Birmingham’s City Council.
A specific goal for the BX takes into consideration the needs of Birmingham families and individuals ranging across a variety of ages. According to the Birmingham City Council, BX will “provide neighborhoods with access to educational and employment opportunities, and vital services.”
Citizens and visitors will be able to travel to historical and cultural destinations at the same speed of light rail at approximately one-third of the construction cost.
According to the city council website, funding for the BX is coming from “a combination of federal transit grant funds and City of Birmingham funds.”
BX is primarily funded by a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant. This federal program is designed to deliver financial support to improve access to dependable, safe and inexpensive transportation while expanding economic opportunities within the city.
The Federal Transit Agency (FTA) is the lead agency to ensure transit projects comprising the program meet all legal requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The FTA also have accountability for “monitoring and overseeing work on this TIGER funded project,” according to the city council website.
The construction process will be professionally handled by the Birmingham-based STRADA Professional, LLC.
According to the city council website, Birmingham paired with STRADA Professional Services to provide “program management services including master planning, oversight, coordination, and quality of project activities and deliverables, to ensure program alignment to the city’s near- and long-term goals and objectives for public transit.”
Aside from the World Games and local tourism industry, the Birmingham Transit Program “comprises various projects that will enhance public transportation over the next decade,” according to the city council website.
Transportation cost and bus routes will be released by the Birmingham City Council in the near future as plans are solidified and completed.
Gunnar Sadowey is a staff writer for the Crimson. He is a sophomore journalism and mass communications major.