Transportation: Development of Urban Circulator Projects – San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD), California

Initiating a transit circulator system was a high priority for RTD, which is located in Stockton.  A circulator system was needed along Stockton’s most highly traveled roads to form a backbone of service for an efficient bus transit system that would provide convenient access to retail, commercial, residential, entertainment centers, industrial, and workforce housing for the community.

Jordan & Associates quickly advised RTD to utilize a new program at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) called Very Small Starts. The program would allow the transit agency to use an expedited approval process for projects under $25 million that could be completed within 12 to 18 months. Few transit agencies had taken advantage of this program.  Jordan & Associates identified key officials with whom RTD should meet, and enabled project discussions at the federal level to ensure that the project was meeting all of the federal program requirements.  We worked closely with the congressional delegation to secure $2.8 million in funding needed for the project. The Metro Express Airport Way Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project, as it is known, provided reliable rapid transit along a 7.2 mile corridor in  low-income areas of south Stockton, and reduced travel time for students from a low income neighborhood of Stockton to get to the University of the Pacific from 90 minutes to 40 minutes. The project provided a connection to the Stockton Altamont Commuter Express (ACE), a regional rail service, the proposed Stockton Amtrak Station and the Stockton Metropolitan Airport, which serves as its terminus.

Designation as a Very Small Starts project laid the foundation for RTD to apply for and receive funding for a second Bus Rapid Transit project, known as the Metro Express Hammer Lane Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project. RTD received $5.2 million through an FTA discretionary grant to complete an east-west express corridor along a major thoroughfare, which completed a regional rapid-transit system in Stockton. RTD is now poised to connect the Bus Rapid Transit network directly to the high speed rail project proposed in the Central Valley of California.

RTD successfully applied for and received funding for two Bus Rapid Transit Projects in three years. Jordan & Associates used all facets of the Federal process to provide guidance and secure federal grants and administrative approval for RTD for these two Bus Rapid Transit projects.  The projects are credited with laying the foundation for transit-oriented corridors in Stockton that will encourage sustainable growth.