SAINT PAUL- After years of planning, The Central Corridor LRT Project received permission today to enter final design, the last step before award of a federal Full Funding Grant Agreement for the biggest public works project in Minnesota history.
"This benchmark has been years in the making. The Central Corridor will be the largest economic development opportunity our region has ever had - today's announcement is another huge step forward," Mayor Chris Coleman said.
The project office will now submit all documentation to the Federal Transit Administration for award of a Full Funding Grant Agreement, fulfilling the federal government's commitment to reimburse project partners for half the cost of building the $957 million, 11-mile line connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The plan requests 50 percent of the funding from the federal government, 30 percent from the Counties Transit Improvement Board, 10 percent from the state, 7 percent from Ramsey County and 3 percent from Hennepin County and lesser amounts from St. Paul, Metropolitan Council and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.
Upon completion of the line in 2014, the Twin Cities will have 115 miles of bus and rail transitways. This includes the Hiawatha LRT line from the Mall of America to downtown Minneapolis and the Northstar commuter rail line 40 miles from Big Lake, Minn., to Minneapolis. The Central Corridor line will connect with Hiawatha at the Metrodome Station and travel its last mile over existing Hiawatha track, stopping at five downtown Minneapolis stations. All three rail lines will meet at the Target
The Central Corridor LRT Project was able to begin work on Fourth Street in St. Paul, thanks to advance funding commitments from its partners and federal approval. The project also began advanced traffic improvements this month on streets around the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota. This will prepare those streets for the routing of cars and trucks off of Washington Avenue as its transformation into a transit-pedestrian mall for LRT and buses begins.