Gateway Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit project moves along

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency recently installed a solar array at North High School as part of the Hometown Solar Grant program. submitted photo

The Washington County Board of Commissioners took more steps Feb. 14 to complete planning for the Gateway Gold Line bus rapid transit corridor between downtown St. Paul’s Union Depot and Woodbury generally parallel to Interstate 94 route.

The board approved a funding commitment for project development of the Gateway Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit Project. The Gateway Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit Project will submit an application to the Federal Transit Administration this summer to enter the next phase of study. The 24-month phase, titled Project Development, brings the project to approximately 30 percent design. The cost of the Project Development phase of work is $25 million, comprised of $15 million from the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), $5 million from the state, and $2.5 million each from Ramsey and Washington counties.

 The money will be spent only if the project proceeds and as the costs are incurred. Washington County’s portion of its payments include staff time dedicated to the project.

 The funding must be committed prior to submitting the Project Development application to the Federal Transit Administration. The $25 million Project Develop cost counts as a match to the federal funding that is committed in the engineering and construction phases that would follow.

The money committed by Washington County is expected to come from a variety of existing funding sources, including in-kind staff time. The mix of funding sources and amounts will be determined in early fall 2017 after Washington County receives approval from the Federal Transit Administration to enter the project development phase of work.

It is expected that project development and the final environmental assessment will be completed in two years, that engineering will be completed two years after that, and that construction will take three years. Opening day is scheduled for 2024.

 The county board also agreed to a work order for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to conduct work on the Gateway Gold Line to assure that the project complies with the Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their projects on historic properties. The MnDOT workers will coordinate with the Minnesota Historic Preservation Office and local consulting parties throughout the Gold Line planning process. The work will focus on analyzing three complex properties, the Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood, 3M, and Johnson Parkway. Properties are analyzed to determine if they are eligible for the National Historic Register. If eligible, an assessment of adverse effects needs to be completed, and then measures to resolve those effects need to be determined.

 The cost of the work is not to exceed $100,000, which will be paid primarily by CTIB grants.


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