New Des Moines transit hub gets green light

DES MOINES, Iowa --

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority plans to move ahead with a new $20 million downtown transit hub after receiving a $6.5 million federal grant.

"This is a good thing for Iowa; this is a good thing for Des Moines," said Iowa Rep. Leonard Boswell.

Boswell made the announcement of the federal grant at a news conference Thursday. The project has already been promised $4 million from the governor's I-JOBS bill in April. Officials said the federal grant gives them enough money to break ground on the project.

The new hub would be located

near Sixth Avenue and Cherry Street

, two blocks from the Walnut Street Transit Mall.

Officials said it would improve customer service and safety.

"It will just be much clearer and easier to distinguish where the pedestrians need to be and where the buses are going to be," said Brad Miller, DART general manager.

The transit hub also offers new possibilities along Walnut Street.

"It's one of the main streets it's historically been a main commercial street in downtown Des Moines, and it gives us an opportunity to look at some different uses along the street itself," said Larry Hulse, Des Moines assistant city manager.

"It really will open up Walnut Street in a lot of ways to the development that downtown Des Moines needs," said Miller.

"Even for non-riders, this lead certified green facility will be a great symbol for the region," said Miller.

No date has been set yet for the groundbreaking, but officials hope to do so before the end of the year.

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