Friday, May 09, 2014

Amtrak begins service at St. Paul's Union Depot

Amtrak begins service at St. Paul's Union Depot Union Depot Facebook

Amtrak began service to Union Depot in St. Paul, Minn., with the May 7 arrival of the Empire Builder from Chicago. Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman was among several transportation leaders who cut the ribbon for the first-ever Amtrak service in Downtown St. Paul.


"We know from experience that travel brings business and that stations bring business to the surrounding community," Boardman said. "While we're celebrating the fact that today the people of the Twin Cities will now have more travel choices than ever before, we can also celebrate the fact that they have a station that's also an engine, an engine of economic development for the surrounding neighborhood and historic district."

Funding for the $243-million project was obtained from a diverse mix of federal, state and local agencies. One of the largest grants was $45.3 million allocated under Section 1301 of Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. In early 2010, the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority (RCRRA) was awarded a $35-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation and $40 million came through the Federal Railroad Administration's High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program, while $4 million from the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Bus and Bus Facilities Program helped finance the new bus terminal. Other funds used in the project were obtained from state bonds and a tax levy imposed by the RCRRA.

Amtrak will soon deliver a report to the Minnesota Department of Transportation regarding an additional round-trip on the Empire Builder's route between St. Paul and Chicago, one of four passenger rail corridors being considered by the state.


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