Thursday, April 8, 2010 | 7:43 p.m.
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Beyond the Sun
Work on the next ACE rapid-transit bus line began Thursday as elected officials joined transportation planners for a ceremony on Boulder Highway.
When it opens late next year, the ACE Green Line will use dedicated bus-only lanes on Boulder Highway, similar to the Metropolitan Area Express that runs on Las Vegas Boulevard North.
The line will connect downtown Las Vegas and Henderson with a fast, train-like bus service. Building the bus lanes and stations along the 15-mile route will cost $41.5 million, with $22 million coming from federal stimulus funds.
Reps. Dina Titus and Shelley Berkley both attended the ground-breaking, hailing the jobs that will be created and the impact the line will have on the community.
“We’ve got to encourage people to leave those cars at home and ride this bus, and when they know how quickly the can move from one side of the valley to the other via this vehicle, I think they’ll do that,” Titus said.
Titus, who is on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said that while bus rapid transit systems are being built in many cities, Las Vegas is unique.
“The RTC is on the cutting edge and very progressive in their thinking,” she said. “I’d like to see light rail, but in the meantime, this is great.”
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who is also on the RTC’s board, said that “next to light rail, this is the next best thing in mass transit.”
The most important impact of the Green Line, she said, is how it will connect Henderson and Las Vegas.
“It’s about the interconnectivity that we’re going to have within this valley,” Giunchigliani said. “We are all Southern Nevadans; we’re all Nevadans, and at some point many of us work in Henderson, live in the city, drink in Clark County, hike in another section of the area.”
The new line will connect to the ACE Gold Line, which runs down Las Vegas Boulevard, and the ACExpress C Line, which goes to northwest Las Vegas, at the new Bonneville Transit Center downtown.
Giunchigliani also said the line will help the valley as it grows. “It will grow in a much more thoughtful, sustainable way through this type of activity,” she said.
Henderson City Councilwoman Debra March, also on the RTC board, said Henderson has been preparing for the new line by creating a Boulder Highway Investment Strategy to encourage high-density development along the corridor and get people to use public transportation.
“This is part of our sustainable future,” she said. “This is an opportunity for good development to take place along the transit corridor.”