The Jacksonville Transportation Authority announced this week the start of the biggest government construction project downtown since the Duval County Courthouse was completed in 2013,
Nat Ford, the JTA's chief executive officer, said the project has been discussed for 25 years, but funding and contracts are now in place and construction on the $33 million Regional Transportation Center will begin in January in LaVilla, near the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
The facility will include a Skyway station, a new terminal for the JTA's fixed bus routes, a hub for the First Coast Flyer's rapid transit bus system and a new Greyhound Bus Lines station.
In addition to Greyhound, the facility will include a Skyway station, a new terminal for JTA’s fixed bus routes and a hub for the First Coast Flyer rapid transit bus system. Officials hope the facility is open and operational by 2019.
"We are in a regional/global kind of economy now, and movement across modes needs to be simple, quick and very efficient," Ford said. "We have to build it for the future, and we need to design a facility that, one, is very convenient for folks to use in terms of making it open, that it's world-class -- something that's iconic and something we can all be proud of."
Ford said facilities for Megabus service between Jacksonville and Orlando, the Uber ride-sharing service and administrative offices for the authority also are on the site plan.
“It will be our version of Grand Central Station, but on a little smaller scale,” Ford told the Daily Record.
Balfour Beatty Construction Co. has guaranteed the price for the project and will be responsible for cost overruns, if any, said Ford. On Friday, the JTA approved a contract with Pond/Michael Baker to design the center.
Future phases, which are not yet funded, could include a terminal for commuter rail service and moving the Amtrak terminal from North Jacksonville to the convention center, formerly Union Terminal.