Jacksonville transportation officials and politicians at all levels of government Tuesday broke ground on the area’s Regional Transportation Center in the historic LaVilla neighborhood.
The Ritz Voices, a choir based at Lavilla’s Ritz Chamber Theater and Museum, began the ceremony with a rendition of the song “You Raise Me Up.”
JTA CEO Nat Ford told the crowd the transportation center will eventually connect Greyhound inter-city service, passenger rail, a revamped downtown Skyway and local bus routes.
“It’s not just any facility. It will be a state-of-the-art transportation hub where nearly a dozen modes of transportation will connect,” he said.
Work on the center’s first phase — the Greyhound bus terminal moving from Pearl Street — is set to be completed early next year.
Its second phase, which includes a 40,000 square foot JTA administration building and a bus transfer facility, is expected to be completed by November 2019. Ford said the project is expected to cost more than $57 million and serve more than 12,500 daily riders.
The center is also being built with the environment in mind and is expected to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental certification.
Ford said he hopes it will inject new life into LaVilla, on the western fringe of downtown Jacksonville.
“The JRTC will become an economic catalyst for the region and for the many people who worked to build the regional transportation networks we use today and rely on for our livelihood,” he said.
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