Madison City Council members presented an amendment to the Bus Rapid Transit project which would temporarily halt construction and spending on the project until it reviews and approves routers in a coming Metro Transit network redesign.
Madison’s Director of Transportation Tom Lynch said BRT funds can only be expended after the council approves all routes.
This comes after some downtown businesses expressed concerns over the Capitol Square stations and State Street, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Lynch said the council wants to have a direct correlation between findings from its 2019-2020 study on the route and funding for the project. Additionally, Lynch said inflation would increase the cost by $5 million if the project is delayed even one year.
City Council president Syed Abbas proposed the amendment with the support of several Madison Alderpersons, according to Mass Transit. Abbas said it will increase transparency with the businesses on the route and ensure the community can comment on the project.
Mayor Rhodes-Conway said a delay is unprecedented and has the potential to destroy the efforts of the project thus far. She does not support the delay, according to a press release from the Mayor’s office. The mayor called the amendment “a clumsy attempt to halt the project.”
According to Lynch, the project would be moved to the 2023 Congress budget, where a different Congress would need to approve it.
“Right now we have approval for our project on both the state and federal level, in two years that approval situation might be different,” Lynch said.
This might create a situation where they would no longer have approval, thus delaying the project more or ending it altogether, according to Lynch.