- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A new transit corridor meant to improve rush hour bus service along a 1.4-mile route will connect the Providence train station to downtown, the Jewelry District and the hospital district, officials from the city, state and federal governments announced on Monday.

The “enhanced transit corridor” will offer Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus service an average of every five minutes during peak hours, and it will feature dedicated bus shelters, real-time arrival information, ticket vending machines and other features, they said.

The project replaces a long-planned streetcar line, which died earlier this year. That plan would have taken $100 million in capital costs to lay rails in the ground for a streetcar, Democratic Sen. Sen. Jack Reed said.

“This is a smart and cost-effective investment in enhancing Providence’s transportation system now and in the future,” he said.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said the improvements will help attract people who want a city that is easy to access and get around.

“Fast, convenient public transit will help make Rhode Island a more attractive place to live and work,” she said.

The bus plan will be paid for in part by a $13 million federal grant that was awarded for the streetcar. The state will pay an additional $4 million for capital costs, officials said.

It was not immediately clear when the project was planned to finish. A spokeswoman for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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