With the SunRunner, PSTA is preparing for the future: There are currently 50,000 jobs and 40,000 residents within a half-mile of the SunRunner route – numbers that are only growing. In fact:
The SunRunner travels the region’s highest ridership corridor in the state’s most densely populated county.
The SunRunner’s high-frequency service will help workers get to their jobs on time and customers get to businesses more reliably and with less traffic congestion.
To create a SunRunner route that is vibrant, safe, and accessible for everyone along its service line, PSTA, in partnership with the City of St. Petersburg, the City of South Pasadena, and Forward Pinellas, commissioned the SunRunner Rising Development Study – a federally-funded project through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Pilot Program. The study provides recommendations to support the SunRunner Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, promote ridership, and assist the cities of St. Petersburg and South Pasadena in providing land use strategies and equitable economic principles. Public input was sought to ensure future development along the SunRunner’s line encourages equity and reflects the diverse makeup of the community. The study concluded in Spring 2022, and was unanimously accepted by the City of St. Petersburg, Forward Pinellas, and the City of South Pasadena.
The origin of the SunRunner dates back 20 years to 2003, when BRT service was identified as a locally preferred mode of transport in Pinellas County. Initial studies and planning for the SunRunner project began in 2009, with the first planned corridor being Central Ave BRT from downtown St. Petersburg to St. Pete Beach. After numerous studies and public interest meetings were held, the design process began in 2018**. On May 29, 2020, PSTA was awarded $21.8 million from the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program, which covered approximately half of the capital cost for building the SunRunner. This is the first Capital Investment Grant awarded to the Tampa Bay region. The remaining construction costs were covered by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which provided 25% of the funding, while PSTA and the City of St. Petersburg split the remainder. With this funding secured, the SunRunner project kicked into high gear. The SunRunner route design was completed and unveiled on July 8, 2020, and the construction groundbreaking took place on August 17, 2020. Just two years later, on Oct. 21, 2022, the SunRunner service was officially launched.
**This period included involvement with the City of St. Pete Beach, as the original SunRunner project design was inclusive of this area. During this time, PSTA worked diligently to address requests made by the city including changing the type of buses it purchased for SunRunner (40’ regular buses vs. 60’ articulated/”bendy” buses) and shortening the SunRunner route (service was to originally extend to Pass-a-Grille, but was shortened to Pinellas County Beach Park).
On May 29, 2020, PSTA was awarded $21.8 million from the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program, which covered approximately half of the capital cost for building the SunRunner. This is the first Capital Investment Grant awarded to the Tampa Bay region. The remaining construction costs were covered by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which provided 25% of the funding, while PSTA and the City of St. Petersburg split the remainder.
Future operating costs will be supported by PSTA and FDOT.
* Denotes mandatory fields