2022 could be a big year for new transit openings if delays, shortages abate

Nellie R. Ortiz

Dive Brief:

  • A lot more than 3 moments as quite a few transit construction initiatives are scheduled for completion this calendar year than in 2021, according to facts compiled by Yonah Freemark, a senior study affiliate at the Urban Institute and proprietor of The Transport Politic. These consist of devoted busways, bus quick transit, rail and streetcar jobs. 
  • Pandemic-relevant challenges, which include employee and materials shortages, delayed the complete of quite a few bus and rail assignments past calendar year, but important initiatives including the East Facet Entry project in New York Town and the 1st period of Honolulu’s elevated rail transit line are predicted to open up in 2022.
  • Even so, inspite of the passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure regulation, only a handful of new assignments may possibly get underway and other current projects may well be delayed if these exact same troubles continue on, Freemark reported.

Dive Perception:

The sluggish location of completions in 2021 serves as a caution for the projected opening dates of upcoming transit projects, in accordance to Freemark, who has gathered data on transit construction tasks for 13 yrs. He explained that simply because so lots of were delayed final year, “That must elevate questions as to whether or not the jobs that we feel will be done in 2022 will basically be completed in 2022.” He also cited growing design expenditures as yet another impediment. 

Transportation companies in the U.S. are focusing on the completion of 22 set-guideway transit projects by the finish of this yr. (Fastened guideway jobs include all rail traces alongside with committed bus lanes and bus immediate transit that set apart roadways or parts thereof for special use by buses.) Just 7 had been done in 2021. 

Major rail projects scheduled to open up this yr include things like the nation’s first entirely automated rail transit line, which will start services from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Washington Metropolitan Spot Transit Authority (Metro), based in Washington D.C., is preparing an 11.4-mile extension of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport in Virginia for passenger company. And the $11 billion East Aspect Access job will ease congestion at Penn Station with a new station at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.


“But the improve has truly been that towns are getting the notion of bus priority a lot more seriously.”

Yonah Freemark

Senior Investigate Affiliate, Urban Institute


Very long-awaited light rail initiatives in Boston and Los Angeles are also thanks for completion this calendar year, as is San Francisco’s Central Subway. Two streetcar extensions, in Seattle and Milwaukee, alongside with the new Tempe, Arizona, streetcar, are scheduled to open this yr.

9 bus quick transit tasks are also in the works for 2022. “One of the greatest traits has been an raise in assignments that involve focused lanes for buses,” reported Freemark. “But the adjust has seriously been that cities are getting the idea of bus precedence additional critically.” 

Not integrated in the roundup of transit initiatives is the envisioned completion this yr of Brightline’s Orlando, Florida extension, enabling through service from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. 

However, right before a lot more jobs can get begun, Congress desires to go a budget for fiscal year 2022. So far, two continuing resolutions have been enacted, the second of which expires on Feb. 18. A 3rd would fund the federal govt until March 11, but that continue to leaves a lot of new transportation programs delayed until appropriations are finalized.

Freemark recognized several communities in which assignments could start out to transfer forward when the cash begins to stream. These consist of the West Valley Connector concerning San Bernardino and Riverside, California a 13-mile bus rapid transit line in Northern Arizona serving the Flagstaff Pulliam Regional Airport and the North-South bus rapid transit technique in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

But, Freemark additional, “Whether the income can go out promptly more than enough for development and no matter whether the cities are actually organized is unclear at the minute.”

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