Central Corridor Making Tracks
The Central Corridor light rail project is making significant progress. Last week, the Federal Transit Administration handed down a positive "Record of Decision" on the project's Final Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This is the first time that the federal government has made a formal commitment to fund the project. It's a major step forward.
Then, yesterday, the Central Corridor Management Committee received a “Letter of No Prejudice” from the FTA. Together with last week’s Record of Decision, this allows utility construction to begin shortly.
The last piece of positive news is that the CCMC has approved an Agreement in Principle on how to allocate additional funds under a newly increased Cost Effectiveness Index (CEI). This allows an additional station in St. Paul, which is great news. It will also fund some streetscape improvements in Minneapolis.
Negotiations are ongoing between the University and the project (with the City and the County acting as supportive partners) about the project's effects on the U's research labs. From what I hear, I'm hopeful that these negotiations will be successful, meeting the U's need to minimize disruption to their labs and the project's financial and operational constraints.
I'm extremely excited to see the Central Corridor moving forward. It's a major advance towards a more transit-centered metro region, where people can (and choose to) get to their jobs and meet their other daily needs without driving. This will not only be good for people's quality of life, but for the environment.