The City of Madison has announced today that is has received a new $7 million grant to kickstart Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway’s MetroForward Plan.

The new U.S. Federal Transit Administration (DOT) Bus and Bus Facilities Grant, one of three projects in Wisconsin to get money from this program, will support the acquisition of property for the creation of a satellite bus facility.  

“This is the next critical step in advancing my MetroForward>> plan, an initiative to support our regional growth, recruit and retain strong business and talent, protect our environment, and ensure a great quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway in a statement. “We must invest in success — sustainable, accessible, and reliable transportation.” 

The application included a $5 million local match and, paired with the $7 million from FTA, will be used to acquire a portion of the Oscar Mayer property to serve as a satellite bus facility to support the growth of the Metro Transit bus fleet and expanded service, according to a press release from the City of Madison. Metro Transit’s main facility on East Washington Ave. is too small for the current fleet of buses. Built more than 100 years ago to store 160 buses, it currently houses 218. With the addition of a satellite facility, Metro Transit will be able to store the full fleet and build capacity for the future of rapid transit. 

“The City of Madison has also set a municipal goal of using 100 percent renewable energy sources and becoming carbon neutral by the year 2030. The new satellite facility is intended to enable a transition of our full fleet to all-electric buses, beginning in 2023, with installation of new electric charging stations and maintenance bays,” said Rhodes-Conway in a statement.

While the first phase of bus rapid transit will run East to West, the next phase aims to support a North to South line, with direct rapid transit service to and from the Dane County Airport.