As part of President Obama's We Can't Wait initiative, two nationally and regionally significant transit projects in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Cleveland, Ohio, will be expedited to put Americans to work and will provide Minnesota and Ohio with more transportation choices.
These projects will improve local and regional connectivity and provide more transit choices for residents and commuters. Best practices, including conducting permitting and other environmental review processes concurrently instead of sequentially, are expected to shave several months off project schedules.
As part of a Presidential Executive Order issued in March of this year, the Office of Management and Budget is charged with overseeing a government-wide effort to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective, saving time while driving better outcomes for local communities. The Administration’s efforts to continuously add more transparency, accountability and certainty into the permitting and review process will enable project developers and private investors to more efficiently modernize the nation’s infrastructure. Additional expedited infrastructure projects will be announced in the coming weeks.
Southwest Light Rail Transit
The Southwest Light Rail Transitway (LRT) project will improve access to major employment centers and all area attractions for residents and commuters in greater Minneapolis by building new light-rail service running between downtown Minneapolis and the southwestern suburbs out to Eden Prairie. The project, funded in part by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), adds more than 15 miles of new track, as well as several new stations and park-and-ride lots. The LRT line is expected to improve accessibility and mobility by enhancing transit travel speeds.
The LRT line would link several major activity centers, including Target Field on the corridor’s eastern end and the Eden Prairie Center Mall on the corridor’s western end. Also, because the project would share track with the Central Corridor LRT line, it would provide a one-seat ride from Minneapolis’ southwestern suburbs via downtown Minneapolis to the State Capitol complex and downtown St. Paul.
University Circle – Little Italy Rapid Station
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s University Circle-Little Italy Rapid Station project involves the relocation of an existing station at E 120th Street and construction of a new a rail transit station along with the rehabilitation of two transit track bridges at Mayfield Road.
The project will integrate the station with the dense, high employment areas of the Little Italy neighborhood and University Hospitals. The project replaces an obsolete station with a new, energy-efficient building, while focusing on reusing existing community resources.
The project is funded in part with a Department of Transportation Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.