BRT campaign gets Rockefeller support

East-West Connector efforts snag one of four grants

The Rockefeller Foundation has committed $1.2 million to support awareness and education campaigns for bus rapid transit systems in Nashville and three other cities.

The grants from the Rockefeller, which has now pumped a total of $6 million since 2010 into projects backing BRT plans around the country, will support research, communications and community outreach efforts in Music City, Chicago, Boston and Pittsburgh.

“As America’s cities continue to grow, leaders understand that public transportation is critical to encouraging economic development and to making their communities more livable and attractive,” said Nick Turner, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation. “It is what their citizens want, and high-quality BRT delivers. We are thrilled to see it gaining momentum in cities across the U.S.”

The grant money will be spent this year and is being managed by national public affairs firm Global Strategy Group. Locally, GSG is partnering with The Strategy Group, headed by Keel Hunt.

“This assistance to Nashville — helping us promote awareness of the benefits of BRT — could not come at a more timely moment," said Ed Cole, executive director of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee. "The Rockefeller Foundation is known for promoting understanding about the important innovations that hold the most promise for American cities, and BRT technology is certainly that.”