Federal awards allocated to 57 transportation projects

Date: Thursday, February 14, 2019

$4 million for a public-private partnership for shared electric cars

The Metropolitan Council approved an extensive array of transportation projects selected by the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) to receive federal funding.

Every two years, the Council, the Twin Cities region’s designated metropolitan planning organization, allocates roughly $200 million to locally initiated projects that meet regional transportation needs. This process is called the Regional Solicitation. Some of this cycle’s funding highlights:

  • A new I-94 bridge in Washington County with METRO Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes
  • Hennepin Avenue reconstruction in Minneapolis
  • Four projects to improve customer boarding for three BRT lines in Bloomington, Richfield, Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • Safety improvements for students crossing Galaxie Avenue to Apple Valley’s Greenleaf Elementary School
  • Electric vehicles and charging stations near transit stops in Minneapolis and Saint Paul

A street with walking paths, bike path, two single lanes of traffic, and a boulevard with turn lanes.“A multimodal transportation system is a key component to the vitality and prosperity of our region,” said Nora Slawik, Chair of the Metropolitan Council. “As we think about how our region is going to grow, planning for and investing in the future is critical, to ensure we keep up with the growing demand for transportation options.”

The City of Saint Paul submitted the proposal featuring a fleet of all-electric vehicles and its network of charging stations. This unique project partners with HOURCAR, is supported by Xcel Energy and aims to reinvigorate car-sharing in the Twin Cities.

Richfield City Manager Katie Rodriguez, a former Metropolitan Council and TAB member, shared her excitement for this project and said a portion of funding dedicated to a new mobility mode from the metropolitan planning organization is a good first goal. “The HOURCAR project is innovative and spending these funds keeps us in step with the trajectory of transportation across the country.”

Overall, local elected officials and community representatives who make up the TAB selected 57 projects for funding including highway, bridge, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects in 37 different cities and townships, and all seven counties throughout the region.

A four-lane road with a boulevard in the middle and walking path on the right.“The Regional Solicitation attracts a wide-variety of county and local applications from across the region,” said TAB Chair and Edina Mayor Jim Hovland. “We consider carefully the mix of projects and the recommendations of the technical scoring committees, and we weigh the impact potential improvements projects will have on the region’s transportation system. In the end, our strong regional collaboration sets aside self-interest, and the TAB members selected a balanced list of projects reflecting both the immediate priorities of the region, as well as the future of mobility in the region.”

Several examples of the projects funded are described below.

Roadway projects

  • Freight, mobility, and safety improvements to Highway 212 in Carver County.

  • A new bridge over I-94 in Washington County connecting Helmo Avenue in Oakdale to Bielenberg Drive in Woodbury.

    • The bridge includes dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes constructed and funded through the METRO Gold Line BRT project.

  • A new Minnesota Highway 13 roadway grade separation into Scott County’s Ports of Savage and adjoining industrial areas.

  • Hennepin Avenue reconstruction in Minneapolis will make improvements for drivers, pedestrians, transit users and bikers.

Transit projects

  • Four projects will make bus stops better and improve customers' boarding experience as part of the preparations for three BRT lines in development.

    • Chicago Avenue and Portland Avenue in Richfield, Minneapolis and Bloomington (D Line)

    • Emerson Avenue/Fremont Avenue and Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis (D Line and E Line)

    • Lake Street/Marshall Avenue in Minneapolis and Saint Paul (B Line)

  • Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) expanded bus service in Burnsville will connect to the planned METRO Orange Line.

Bicycle and pedestrian projects

  • Local and regional trail expansions, including Saint Paul’s Capital City Bikeway on Kellogg Boulevard

  • Four Safe Routes to School projects, including safety improvements for students to cross Galaxie Avenue at Greenleaf Elementary School in Apple Valley

TAB also approved $25 million of federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funding for 25 projects throughout the region. These projects promote safety by addressing design elements to reduce crashes, particularly those of a severe nature. Projects funded include freeway cable median barriers, pedestrian crossing improvements, roundabouts, paved roadway shoulders and turn lanes at busy intersections.

The selected projects will be included in the Draft 2020-2023 Transportation Improvement Program, which will be available for public review during the summer of 2019.

The next full Regional Solicitation and Highway Safety Improvement Program solicitation will take place starting in the spring of 2020 for projects seeking funding for 2024 and 2025.

Posted In: Transportation