Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan
Today marked the groundbreaking of the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Silver Line in Grand Rapids, and Governor Rick Snyder joined in celebrating the new project.
"We're talking about a critically important thing in terms of public transportation," Snyder said. "It's people's lifeline to a job... It's their lifeline to health care. There are so many reasons why public transportation plays a very important role, and to be open, many of us don't recognize that as much as we should."
The new Silver Line will stretch 9.6-miles from 60th Street in Wyoming to downtown Grand Rapids and is due to open for service in August 2014. A total of 33 stations will be built spanning the three cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Wyoming.
Steven Heacock of Spectrum Health was also on hand for the groundbreaking, and he, too, spoke of the important role that the BRT will play in Grand Rapids' future -- and how it will help connect The Medical Mile with patients and workers.
"I hope we don't forget to pause and understand the significance of this," Heacock said. "We really are becoming a significant metropolitan area with what will be mass transit."
With improved public transit, Governor Snyder said Grand Rapids can expect to see increased economic development, and that means more and better jobs for the region. It also serves to attract young people who want to live, work and play in a community tied together with public transportation.
"It's really exciting for our future, because I think one thing we're seeing is our young people are really looking for mass transportation more and more. Public transportation is how they want to get around," Snyder said. "It's about placemaking. It's about quality of life in addition to livelihood and medical care."