Redevelopment of Ford Site Gets Boost

Redevelopment of Ford Site gets $100,000 boost from U.S. Department of Transportation

TIGER grant will enhance study of options for re-use of existing rail spur

SAINT PAUL - Saint Paul’s plans for the redevelopment of the former Ford Motor Company Twin Cities Assembly Plant got a boost Friday when the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) awarded a $100,000 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Planning Grant to study the potential re-use of the Canadian Pacific Railway spur that once served the plant.

The TIGER-funded study, Building a Multimodal Corridor on the Canadian Pacific Rail Spur: Preliminary Design Study and Master Plan, will commence in early 2016 with a consultant team to be managed by the City of Saint Paul, in coordination with Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, as a follow up and complement to the Riverview Corridor Study.

“The City of Saint Paul is thrilled to be the recipient of the highly competitive TIGER funds,” said Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. “We are grateful to our partners, Ford and East Metro Strong, for sharing our vision for the strength of this corridor as both an economic development engine for the future of our region and an opportunity to enhance the quality of life for those who live along the line.”

Matching the federal grant will be investments by the City of Saint Paul, Ford Motor Company and East Metro Strong, a public-private partnership working to catalyze job growth and economic development opportunities around enhanced transportation and transit.

The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program. From this pool, US DOT made awards to 72 projects that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called “innovative, job-creating, and quality of life-enhancing.”

Focus on the potential re-use of the spur, still owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, will be part of a larger study of the Riverview Corridor led by the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority. Just now getting underway, the Riverview Corridor study will evaluate the full range of transit modes and possible alignments between the Union Depot and the Airport/Mall of America, with the goal of identifying one mode and one alignment for further environmental study.

“The study opportunity provided with these funds will enhance the Riverview Corridor study by allowing additional evaluation of connections to the regional transportation network. We look forward to working with our partners to frame the study," said Rafael Ortega, chair, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority.

East Metro Strong Board co-chair and Washington County Commissioner Lisa Weik said the award was important regionally and nationally. “Making that corridor as successful as it can be is important to our whole region,” said Weik. “And this is an opportunity to create a model for how to look at re-use of urban rail corridors.”

Weik also highlighted the language in the US DOT award, that the project will “enhance quality of life throughout the adjacent communities, and enhance economic competitiveness by attracting development and improving access to employment.”

“These are goals that East Metro Strong supports as well,” said Weik.

More detail on the 2014 TIGER awards is available at: http://www.dot.gov/tiger/14awards

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