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Additional station promised on St. Paul Central Corridor

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A promise to fund an additional station,  approval of a budget of up to $941 million and award of a contract to start public utility relocation in downtown St. Paul capped a banner month for the Central Corridor LRT Project. 

August’s
developments included:


The Federal Transit Administration’s approval of the project’s plan in its
Final Environmental Impact Statement to mitigate adverse impacts created by
construction. 


The FTA’s agreement to reimburse the project’s funding partners for 50 percent
of the cost of relocating public utilities under Fourth Street in downtown St.
Paul if the federal agency approves a Full Funding Grant Agreement next
year. 


The Metropolitan Council’s approval Wednesday of the adequacy of the FEIS as
required under state law. 

These
actions allowed the project to apply for federal permission to enter final
design later this fall. 

"This
month’s developments signal the strength of our bid to secure federal funding
to build the Twin Cities’ second light rail transit line," Metropolitan Council
Chair Peter Bell said.

When
the Central Corridor line opens in 2014, it will create a 60-mile passenger
rail network in the greater Twin Cities area. Central Corridor and Hiawatha LRT
and Northstar commuter rail all will terminate at the new Minneapolis
Multimodal Station adjacent to the new Minnesota Twins stadium at the western
edge of downtown Minneapolis. Central Corridor LRT will be the busiest rail
line with 42,000 daily riders forecast in 2030.

The
city of St. Paul said it intends to commit $5.2 million to the project budget
to pay for building one of three additional infill stations.

Ramsey
County commissioners said they would go to their board to fund an FTA-required
environmental review of how an additional station would affect the
project. 

In
late July, the FTA issued its annual adjustment for the Cost Effectiveness
Index. The Met Council then voted Wednesday to incorporate scope elements
previously not included worth about $14 million and additional financing
expense of $9 million. This resulted in a revised project budget of up to
$941.3 million. 

Project
elements that will be funded out of the inflation adjustment dollars include:

 • Façade improvements to the existing
Diamond Products building in Lowertown St. Paul that will be converted to the
Central Corridor operations and maintenance facility ($1.5 million)


Acquisition of the vacant Bremer Bank building and site for the diagonal 4th
and Cedar Street station ($7.8 million).


University of Minnesota vibration and electro-magnetic mitigation ($4.8
million)

Also
this month, the FTA awarded the 2009 federal grant in the amount of $24.75
million ($19.8 million federal) to the Met Council to advance design and
engineering on the Central Corridor. This is part of the overall federal
participation for the project. It is another signal from the FTA that the
project is well positioned to secure a Full Funding Grant next year.

The
council awarded a $12.5-million advanced utility contract to Carl Bolander
& Sons to relocate public utilities in downtown St. Paul. The contract has
a 15 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goal, which Bolander has
committed to meet. 

The
Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project will link downtown St. Paul and
downtown Minneapolis along Washington and University avenues via the state
Capitol and University of Minnesota. Construction will begin in 2010 on the
planned 11-mile Central Corridor line, with service beginning in 2014. The line
will connect with the Hiawatha LRT line at the Metrodome station in Minneapolis
and the soon-to-be opened Northstar commuter rail line at the new Minneapolis
Multimodal Station. The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal
funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in
partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Central
Corridor Management Committee, which includes the mayors of St. Paul and
Minneapolis, commissioners from Ramsey and Hennepin counties and the University
of Minnesota, provides advice and oversight.

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