Green Line increases momentum for dedicated transit funding, build-out of transit system
The Twin Cities metro area's second light rail line, the METRO Green Line, opened June 14 to moderate rain and much fanfare from residents and elected officials alike. Over the course of opening weekend, the Green Line provided more than 107,000 rides.
The line, which we are proud to deliver on time and on budget, is the largest completed public works project in Minnesota history at a total cost of $957 million. Construction of the METRO Green Line employed 5,500 people and created 200 permanent new operations jobs. Prior to opening, the more than $2.5 billion in development occurred or was announced within a half mile of the line and more is expected in the coming months and years.
This is a new beginning for our region as this Green Line better connects thousands of workers to their jobs, and attracts thousands of new residents who want to live along this line. After all, transit is fundamentally about connections--connecting one neighborhood to another, one city to another, a working mom to quality child care, a college student to classes, baseball fans to the stadium, and employers to their employees.
The opening of the Green Line is also increasing momentum for implementing a comprehensive transit vision. A 21st century transit system will make us a stronger, healthier and more connected metro region, which is why the Green Line is just the start of the transit system we plan to build.
Thanks to the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton, we now have the funding to construct the first urban bus rapid transit line down Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. When we finish it in 2015, the A Line will run from Roseville to the METRO Green Line, continue down Snelling Avenue to Ford Parkway where it will ultimately cross into Minneapolis on 46th Street and connect riders to the METRO Blue Line.
But the A Line isn’t where our system stops. We continue to make progress toward constructing the Green Line Extension, known as Southwest LRT.
Governor Dayton and legislators plan to make the 2015 legislative session about transit and transportation funding. The Metropolitan Council, along with our partners at the Minnesota Department of Transportation will be at the forefront of this conversation, which we hope will result in new dedicated funding for transit expansion. These resources will enable us to move important projects like Bottineau and Gateway forward, as well as other urban and highway bus rapid transit routes around the region.
The Green Line is a fabulous new transit option for the residents of the region, but it is also a source of considerable momentum for a more comprehensive, connected regional transit system.