Final Funding Grant Approval Means Construction and Vision Go Forward

April 26, 2011

Usually ceremonies for large public projects occur at the beginning and completion, with hard-hatted officials turning dirt or cutting ribbons. As this Pioneer Press editorial notes, there’s a great reason for celebration part way into the construction of the Central Corridor LRT project.
Today, Federal Transit Administration officials were in St. Paul to formally sign the Full Funding Grant Agreement for the project, which means half the $957 million cost will be paid with federal transit funds. The remainder of the funding comes from a combination of state, county and regional sources plus the City of St. Paul. The Funders Collaborative, which contributed $520,000 to enable completion of three additional stations in the first phase of the project, was the smallest contributor.
A massive public project like this needs the money to go forward, of course, but it could not have even begun without a shared vision of the Corridor’s future — or without collaboration among the public sectors, neighborhoods and private interests that will benefit from the opportunities the line will bring.
Those opportunities — such as better access to jobs, shopping, services and education in the region — are still a few years away. And challenges remain to ensure that changes beyond the rail preserve affordable housing, cultural vitality and conditions where families and small businesses can build prosperity.
Today’s signing was well worth celebrating, but we know it’s just one milestone for the partners working to benefit the Central Corridor.