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UNLV gets $2.8 million federal grant for transit center

Updated Thursday, July 8, 2010 | 2:51 p.m.

UNLV will be home to a new transit center, thanks to a grant announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The $2.8 million grant, received by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, will be used to build a transit center on more than an acre of land near the In and Out Burger on Maryland Parkway.

The center will be a hub for transit for the university and the surrounding area, the RTC said.

The new ACExpress C Line, which connects UNLV to downtown Las Vegas and the northwest valley, will end at the center.

In addition, a future Maryland Parkway bus rapid transit line, and possibly the bus lines on Maryland Parkway and Tropicana Avenue, will connect to the center, RTC General Manager Jacob Snow said.

The campus shuttle system will allow students and visitors to access the entire campus from the center, Snow said.

Snow said the RTC hopes to increase its service to the university.

“That’s one of the best sources for ridership,” he said.

RTC spokeswoman Allison Blankenship said the center is still in the early design phase, but will probably not include indoor shelters.

The timeline for the project has not be set, but construction should begin sometime next year, Blankenship said.

The grant is one of more than 50 that will split $293 million as part of the Federal Transit Administration’s Urban Circular Grant and Bus Livability programs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praised the announcement as an effort to reduce congestion and air pollution.

“I am pleased that the Department of Transportation has chosen UNLV and Las Vegas for this critical bus funding,” Reid said. “UNLV is a hub of activity and as a commuter school a place that many students travel to daily.”

The American Public Transportation Association said Thursday that Las Vegas is one of the top cities where transit riders save money over driving a car.

The association said riders in Las Vegas save an average of $728 a month and $8,738 a year by riding buses instead of paying for gas and parking.

That puts the city in the No. 19 spot on the list of cities with the most transit riders ranked in order of their transit savings.

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