$460M in Funding On its Way for Central Corridor

The Pioneer Press reported that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman confirmed that a funding grant agreement will be signed next week, which will bring in $460 million in federal aid for the $957 million project.

Federal funding that will cover nearly half the cost of the Central Corridor light-rail transit project is close to becoming a reality.

According to the Pioneer Press, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman confirmed Monday at his annual State of the City address that a funding grant agreement will be signed next week by the Federal Transit Administration. The agreement will bring in $460 million in federal aid for the $957 million project.

According to the Metropolitan Council's Web site, the current financial plan for the project involves the 50 percent federal input and 30 percent from the new Counties Transit Improvement Board-a collaboration of five Minnesota counties that was formed in 2008 by the State Legislature. The counties utilize sales tax to invest in transit projects and work with the Met Council to distribute grants.

Additional funding is expected from the state, Ramsey and Hennepin counties, the Met Council, the City of St. Paul, and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative-a group of foundations and other funding sources.

The project has faced backlash from local organizations and businesses that claim the affects of the construction of the light-rail line were not properly assessed. In January, a federal judge ruled that light-rail planners had failed to analyze how construction of the transit line would affect businesses and ordered the Met Council to conduct further assessment-but the ruling did not halt construction of the project.

Last week, area businesses received good news when the Met Council announced that an additional $3.3 million will be made available to St. Paul businesses hindered by the Central Corridor light-rail construction. The recent funding is in addition to $7.8 million that was initially made available.

Area business owners have long complained that customers are being driven away by the loss of parking spots and limited access to businesses due to construction.

The Central Corridor light-rail line, which will be built primarily along University and Washington Avenues, will include 18 new stations and will connect five major activity centers in the Twin Cities: downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, the Midway area, the state capitol complex, and downtown St. Paul. Plans indicate that it will share five existing stations with the Hiawatha light-rail line in Minneapolis.


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