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Lack of state aid could stall Gateway BRT

Lawmakers adjourned last month without approving $3 million in planning funds for a bus rapid transit line between downtown St. Paul and Woodbury — a misstep that could delay the project.

Planners and officials for the Gateway Corridor — a 12-mile bus rapid transit line between St. Paul and Woodbury along Interstate 94 — are hoping to secure state funding during a one-day special session this summer.

Without the planning money, project backers will have to consider options — including a delay to the line’s projected 2022 opening, said Washington County Transportation Manager Jan Lucke.

“The cost of not securing the state funding is up to one year delay and $17 million,” Lucke said. The $17 million represents cost increases due to inflation.

About $25 million is needed to move the project through the first phase of the federal transit planning process, which includes two levels of environmental analysis.

During the planning stages for a transit line, funding is typically split between the Counties Transit Improvement Board, the counties where the project is located and the state. Federal money isn’t available until after a project has cleared years of planning hurdles. The state has already contributed $2 million of its $5 million share for the project development phase.

The Counties Transit Improvement Board has committed to $15 million for planning, while Ramsey and Washington counties have contributed $2.5 million each, Lucke said.

At the end of the project-development phase, the project would be handed over to a state agency like the Minnesota Department of Transportation or the Metropolitan Council for implementation.

One comment

  1. This project would be a disaster for people who live along the route in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood. Contact your represetative to ask them to make sure this project is killed.

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