Monday, December 17, 2007

Northstar Line moving forward

Lots of good mass transit news will be arriving in Minnesota in time for the holidays, all of it having to do with the soon-to-be passed transportation bill.

The three big items contained in it:

1. $195 million to help rebuild the collapsed I-35W bridge.

2. $55 million for the Northstar commuter rail line, part of about $162 million in federal money that will eventually come our way to help pay for the $320 million project. It's on track to break ground in 2008, with a scheduled opening in 2009. And once the new Twins stadium is built, Northstar riders will be able to use the stadium station to switch to the Hiawatha light-rail line, giving them carless access to downtown Minneapolis, south Minneapolis, the Mall of America and the airport.

3. Speaking of light-rail, the bill also contains about $10 million for the planned Central Corridor extension of the system, which will connect downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul.

By the way, the Northstar line, besides easing the need for additional highway lanes in the northern suburbs, is expected to produce about $1 billion in economic development along its route.

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