Governor Walz, Senator Klobuchar, and Senator Smith announce new funding for the METRO Gold Line

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Governor Tim Walz today announced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has officially approved nearly half the funding needed to build the $505 million METRO Gold Line bus rapid transit project, money that was secured in the infrastructure law passed in Congress in 2022. The project is part of more than $21 billion invested in public transportation nationwide and is set to open in 2025. Governor Walz was joined by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Metropolitan Council Chair Charlie Zelle, FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez, U.S. Representative Betty McCollum, Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo, and Washington County Commissioner Stan Karwoski to make this announcement.

The Gold Line will be a 10-mile bus rapid transit route that travels between Lowertown in Saint Paul and Woodlane Station in Woodbury, serving stops in Maplewood, Landfall, and Oakdale. The Gold Line will offer easy transit service to nearly 100,000 jobs along the route, including the 3M headquarters. It will also offer convenient travel to Union Depot, Sunray Shopping Center, Woodbury Village, and other attractions.

“I am grateful to Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and all our federal partners for ensuring this important project becomes a reality,” said Governor Walz. “The Gold Line will connect tens of thousands of Minnesotans to nearly 100,000 jobs, educational opportunities, friends, and family. Investments in transportation are investments in Minnesota’s economy, workforce, and future.”

“Investments in public transit make it easier for Minnesotans to get to school, work, and other destinations, while reducing traffic congestion and pollution,” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. “This federal funding will support the Metro Gold Line Bus project, helping construct bus-only lanes and providing more reliable transit service between downtown Saint Paul and the eastern suburbs. I’ll keep pushing for resources to ensure public transit is safe and reliable for all Minnesotans.”

“This announcement is the culmination of decades of work to expand transit access across Minnesota,” said U.S. Senator Tina Smith. “I was pleased to host Administrator Fernandez in Minnesota two years ago so she could hear directly from the community about how important this project is. As we showed her then, in order to remain competitive nationally and globally, it is essential we continue investing in our infrastructure. The METRO Gold Line is one piece of a larger effort to prepare us for long-term growth and continued success.”

“I’m thrilled the Federal Transit Administration has validated this project by signing the Full Funding Grant Agreement,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “As public servants, it’s important to evaluate transit projects through many lenses, including whether a project delivers the kind of service and benefits our community deserves. I’d like to thank the FTA and the Biden administration for making transit a priority, as well as the thousands of community members who offered their comments, support, and ideas to help bring this project to fruition.”

“Today’s announcement shows what is possible when neighbors, local communities, and the federal government come together in partnership,” said U.S. Representative Betty McCollum. “The METRO Gold Line isn’t just a rapid transit route — it’s a reminder that with a lot of hard work and collaboration we can improve lives and do great things as a community, region, and country.”

“Gold Line is now more suited to serve trips throughout the day, including mid-afternoon peaks,” said Washington County Commissioner Michelle Clasen. “Mid-afternoon now dominates ridership more so than the traditional morning and evening commutes of office workers, many of whom continue working remotely or hybrid.”

“An added advantage for the Gold Line is that it will be the first BRT service in Minnesota to operate primarily in bus-only lanes,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega. “This will ensure on time arrival while providing a premium travel experience and the permanency required to generate substantial economic development.”

“Improved transit service along this route is critically important since 13% of the households do not have cars, 16% of the population lives in poverty, and 44% of the population is racially and ethnically diverse,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo.

“Washington County is doing some development of its own on the corridor, having chosen to build its new county service center adjacent the line’s eastern endpoint at Woodlane Station in Woodbury,” said Washington County Commissioner Stan Karwoski.

About the METRO Gold Line

Planning for the METRO Gold Line began in 2010. The FTA gave the green light to enter project development in 2018, and construction started in 2022. As part of the Federal New Starts Program, the Gold Line needed strong partnerships with Ramsey and Washington counties, the local funders for the project, and the federal government.

The Gold Line will open in 2025 at a cost of $505 million, with more than 47% ($239 million) coming from FTA and nearly 48% ($120 million each) from Ramsey and Washington counties. The federal funding from FTA comes from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provided about $2.7 billion in federal funding for over 180 infrastructure projects in Minnesota.

By 2030, Metro Transit anticipates operating a 165-mile network of 12 bus rapid transit lines, with connections to the METRO Blue Line and METRO Green Line light rail, their extensions, and local and express buses. Bus rapid transit fills a gap in Metro Transit’s services by offering fast, all-day service where only local or express bus services currently exist.

The Gold Line will connect people across the region to job centers, housing options, transit stations, and key destinations in the Interstate 94 corridor. The line will connect Saint Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale, and Woodbury along I-94.

Through 2021, Metro Transit found permitted development worth nearly $476 million and planned development worth more than $1.2 billion in the corridor. This includes 903 permitted housing units and another 1,461 planned housing units. Learn more about the latest Development Trends Along Transit report.

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