EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- After months and months of debating, the Federal Transit Authority determined that the new EMX line would have no significant impact on the environment.
This is a $95 million project with most of the money coming from the Federal government and the rest from the state. According to Lane Transit District (LTD), construction should get started in the next two years, with buses running as early as January 2017. The project includes construction of thirteen new bus rapid transit stations and seven new buses. The project will add an additional nine miles of service, bringing the total to 24 miles. The new EMX line will run from downtown Eugene to West Eugene and LTD assures that businesses and residents in the area will be taken care of.
"LTD is going to fulfill all of its agreements that are in the FONSI [Finding of No Significant Impact report]. It is now required that we will complete all of the commitments that we have in order to minimize impacts not only on businesses, but on property owners," said EMX project team member Lisa Vanwinkle.
Vanwinkle says LTD is going to continue to support the motoring community and provide a better transit option for those who rely on the bus and those who wish to use transit, but there are numerous businesses that are against the project and there is even talk about a Federal appeal.
"It's really a fight for principle: they [LTD] have never proven a need. They have never proven it does half of what they claim. It’s not faster, it’s not more cost-effective," said Our Money, Our Transit spokesman Bob Macherione.
Macherione says his organization suggested alternative solutions to LTD, such as intersection studies to improve car, truck and bus flow through the city.