Skyway replacement wins $1.72 million federal grant

The grant is part of $1 billion being awarded to transportation authorities throughout the U.S.

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Federal money is coming to help pay for the Jacksonville Skyway replacement.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority announced Nov. 19 it will receive a $1.72 million RAISE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to support planning the third phase of the Ultimate Urban Circulator project known as U2C. 

JTA plans to spend $379 million to $400 million to replace the elevated 2½-mile Skyway monorail with a 10-mile automated vehicle network. The U2C will expand the people mover service from Downtown to include San Marco, Five Points, Brooklyn and UF Health Jacksonville near Springfield.

The money will be used to position the JTA to pursue federal capital improvement grants and other funding to purchase equipment and construct the proposed extension. JTA will be required to provide a 50% match to any federal construction funds.

This grant is part of $1 billion the federal government is awarding to transportation authorities across the nation, according to a JTA news release.

RAISE stands for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity. The RAISE grants are judged on a project’s safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation and partnership with hopes of improving racial equality, reducing climate change and creating new jobs, according to the release.

“We are honored that the U.S. Department of Transportation and our local Congressional Delegation are once again supporting the innovation and vision of the U2C program with its continued investment through the RAISE program,” JTA CEO Nathaniel Ford said in the release.

U.S. Reps. John Rutherford and Al Lawson also commented on the grant.

“Today’s federal award for the Ultimate Urban Circulator will help ease congestion in the city and get commuters where they need to be,” Rutherford said.

“The Department of Transportation grant will allow the city the opportunity to further modernize the area and provide residents with equitable access to connecting neighborhoods, employment opportunities and medical centers,” Lawson said.

Phase 1 of U2C, the Bay Street Innovation Corridor, is fully funded. Negotiations are ongoing for a Design, Build, Operate and Maintain procurement with the Balfour Beatty Vision 2 Realty consortium.

Money raised from a Duval County gas tax increase in May will be used for Phase 2, which will be the full conversion of the Skyway and connections to the Bay Street Innovation Corridor.

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