Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Nathaniel Ford just wants to keep seeing green.
Ford and transportation officials met with authority members Thursday to discuss the upcoming Downtown portion of the Bus Rapid Transit system scheduled to be completed in March 2015.
The Downtown plan includes dedicated bus lanes and a dozen new, improved stops for the service.
But, they're yellow.
"Blaring and doggone scary" yellow, says DIA board member Melody Bishop.
She and fellow board members Kay Harper and Tony Allegretti asked JTA to reconsider a color. The three were the only members at the special DIA meeting.
Each, though, said they didn't want the issue to hamper any progress.
Ford said the administration is willing to address the issue — to a point. That point is any action that could be perceived as disorganization to the Federal Transit Administration and could risk the federal portion of the $110 million project.
Downtown is the first portion, with north, southeast, east and southwest corridors being constructed in segments over the next four years.
The federal government will pay for about 80 percent of the project, with state and local agencies covering the remainder.
"Right now as the JTA, we want to make sure any of this discussion about color and look does not get in the way of the bigger funding timeline," Ford told the group.
The color and look of the dozen stations was approved last year by the Downtown Development Review Board, which has jurisdiction over the Downtown's streetscape aesthetics.
Ford said he isn't a fan of the color, either — it was picked before he arrived — and he's willing to work on potential change. But keeping the plan on track in a tight timeline was critical.
The design plans must be complete by December. The shelters must include branding, but color is not necessarily a part of that.
The Downtown portion plan already hit one adjustment when the transportation authority made a route alteration to exempt Riverplace Boulevard. The issue arose after neighborhood concern and the Federal Transit Authority granted the exemption.
He referred to the issue as a "black cloud," given that newer systems being approved have stricter guidelines.
And, he said the Federal Transit Authority is watching the bus rapid transit project "to see if we can deliver a project like this" and alluded to its delays as a potential reason why the government did not select Jacksonville for a recent $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant. The money would have gone toward extending the Skyway to the Brooklyn area.
Despite the call for a new color, Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace, at the request of the board, will craft a letter of support to the City Council and others for the project.
The authority also is awaiting council approval to make improvements on the city land for the shelters.
Members of the Downtown Investment Authority see yellow and turn red.