New MTS trolley
The first new trolley at an Metropolitan Transit System facility. Courtesy MTS

The Metropolitan Transit System board on Thursday unanimously approved $125 million for FY 2022’s Capital Improvement Program.

The funding includes a $42.2 million investments in new buses and $28.5 million for low-floor trolleys.

“The MTS CIP is an important road map for planning and funding assets for San Diego’s transit system, and having $125 million to allocate in CIP funds is very healthy for an agency our size,” said MTS CEO Sharon Cooney. “This includes new trolleys and buses, advancing our zero-emission bus transition, fully funding our new fare collection system and more.”

Other funded items:

  • $15.6 million for 11 60-foot zero emission buses for the Iris Rapid project;
  • $12.1 million for design and station infrastructure for Iris Rapid, and overhead charging infrastructure to support the new route; and
  • $3.3 million for the new fare collection system, PRONTO.

The budget process began last October with an internal call for projects from MTS departments. Each department submitted its capital project items in priority order, and the lists were consolidated for review by the Capital Projects Review Committee.

The committee reviewed the projects in the context of their impact on operations and determined the most critical to fund this year. The MTS Budget Development Committee, made up of several system board members, then approved the CIP for full board consideration.

“MTS is committed to providing the best rider experience possible and the CIP helps us achieve this goal,” Cooney said.

As far as operations, frequencies and spans have been restored to near-pre-COVID-19 levels, officials said.

MTS operates 95 bus routes and three trolley lines across 10 cities and unincorporated areas of San Diego County.