ST. PAUL, Minn – Long-time champion of sustainable transportation and the Gateway Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit Project, Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) is happy to announce the inclusion of the project in the Senate’s $1.5 billion Bonding Bill. Sen. Kent authored the $3 million project request for Washington County to help with the state’s share of engineering and environmental analysis to move the bus rapid transit project into its next phase.
“This $3 million appropriation was absolutely critical to keeping this project on track, because a one year delay could increase the construction costs of this project by up to $17 million. I’m so grateful to the Senate Bonding Committee for seeing the importance of this project to the west metro and for including it in the Senate Bonding Bill. The Gateway Corridor is home to 300,000 people and that number is expected to grow rapidly in the next 15 years. This transportation project is a critical component in the long-term solution to the east metro’s traffic problems,” said Sen. Kent.
The Gateway Corridor or Gold Line BRT would run alongside I-94 in a dedicated guideway. It would stop at 11 stations and would serve as a connection to our growing regional transit system. The Gateway Corridor Commission has used a highly methodical, data-driven process in planning and evaluating alternatives. Bus rapid transit along this corridor is viewed by project advocates as the best way to ease the region’s traffic congestion, and is the preferred reliable, high quality and cost-effective choice by businesses and residents.
According to project leaders, the Gold Line BRT is on schedule to submit an application to enter the Federal New Starts funding program in the first quarter of 2017, but must secure $3 million in state funding this year. The application cannot be submitted until there is confirmation of matching funds for the next phase.
Transportation projects make up the greatest percentage of the Senate’s Bonding Bill, coming in at just under $400 million. Another quarter of the bill is dedicated to higher education, while the rest is divided among water infrastructure, parks and trails, public safety, housing and human services and the arts. The bill is estimated to create around 40,000 jobs in the short term, and will help drive economic development and enhance Minnesota’s infrastructure well into our state’s future. To learn more about the Senate Bonding Bill and view an interactive map of projects, visit: http://build.mn/2016-bonding-bill/2016-senate-bonding-bill/