The plan to connect destinations in the east metro with bus rapid transit took a major step forward this month. With the completion of environmental studies on the project and 100% of the design work, the METRO Gold Line project has now formally applied for federal matching funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
While federal funding for major transit projects like the METRO Gold Line is awarded on a competitive basis, we have high hopes that the project will win federal matching dollars. Over the past four years, the Met Council has partnered closely with the FTA, Washington and Ramsey counties, and the cities of Saint Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale, and Woodbury to ensure the project meets all financial, environmental, design, and engineering requirements.
“We’re taking an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to developing this project,” said Chris Beckwith, METRO Gold Line project director. “Both Washington and Ramsey counties have been and continue to be involved in making major decisions about how the project has been planned and designed. We’ve engaged community members as well as city officials as the project as moved forward.”
Public engagement on METRO Gold Line has been extensive
Since the route for the METRO Gold Line was selected, the counties and the project office have held more than 380 public meetings, and city and county staff have engaged with the project office in almost 1,000 technical meetings. At several points, project outreach staff have even gone door-to-door to discuss the project with people who will live near the line.
If approved, the FTA Full Funding Grant Agreement would fund 45% of the project’s cost; 55% will come from Washington and Ramsey counties. When it’s complete, the 10-mile line is expected to carry up to 6,500 passengers a day on fast, frequent all-day service. The METRO Gold Line is expected to be one of the 10 busiest bus routes in the metro area.
The METRO Gold Line corridor is already experiencing new development as the five cities on the route work with developers. Currently, $1.4 billion in new development is on the books, including more than 4,600 new housing units, along with major commercial and retail developments.
Service is expected to begin in 2025.