BATON ROUGE, La. – The Capital Area Transit System Board of Commissioners approved enhancements for the interim transit hub sites at both Cortana Mall and the former Earl K. Long hospital site as part a series of projects that will enhance service in North Baton Rouge. Mayor Sharon Weston Broome also addressed the board and its efforts to improve Baton Rouge.
CATS also will launch Bus Rapid Transit service along Plank Road in mid-2018, quicker than originally planned, to support the City’s efforts to revitalize North Baton Rouge. The Florida Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit line is also planned for 2018.
CATS Board President Jim Brandt said, “We are happy to work with both the CATS staff and the City-Parish to enhance the service our customers receive and create a more enjoyable experience for them.”
CATS efforts were recently bolstered by $1 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration, which awarded CATS the additional funding to purchase electric buses, which will be used to support the two bus rapid transit lines.
CATS CEO Bill Deville said, “CATS is thrilled to be moving forward with our plans for a modified bus rapid transit line in North Baton Rouge that will help citizens in the area connect to what matters more quickly. While we work to implement this exciting addition to Baton Rouge transit, we recognize there are some improvements that need to be made so our customers are more comfortable while they wait”
The Board also heard from Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, who spoke about the importance of public transit and discussions her office has had with CATS, specifically as it related to enhancements in North Baton Rouge. She praised CATS for demonstrating its value to the community and the role it can play on economic growth and development.
Mayor Broome said, “It is my vision for this city and this parish to have a very expansive, forward-moving public transportation city.”
In other action, the CATS board:
- Approved up to $175,000 in interim improvements to hubs located at Cortana Mall and the former Earl K. Long site, including improvements in seating, lighting, signage and paving. At Cortana, the location will be tweaked slightly so riders will be picked up and dropped off on the same side of the street, meaning they will no longer have to cross several lanes of traffic to change buses.
- Awarded a graphic design contract to the BREW Agency to support CATS public outreach and communications goals.
- Recommended a 5 percent increase in pay for CATS CEO Deville, who recently received a positive annual review from members of the Board of Directors and has been with the agency as CEO for one year.