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Wednesday December 2nd 2020

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Onward, Funding Transit!

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON 

METRO TRANSIT 

October 2020 has been an excellent month for Twin Cities transit enthusiasts. We are finally getting guaranteed funding for three and a half projects: 

● The Federal Transit Administration made a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the State of Minnesota for the Green Line extension to Eden Prairie. This provides $928.8 million towards the $2,002 million needed for the project, with the remainder being funded locally. Construction has been under way for two years, and completion is expected by 2023. 

● The Minnesota House passed an infrastructure bonding bill which provides funds to start construction of the B and D Lines, which are bus rapid transit. The B Line is planned for Lake Street as a faster version of Route 21, similar to Route 53 except for using Selby Ave. in Saint Paul rather than I-94. The D Line will be a faster version of Route 5, serving the Chicago Ave. S. and Fremont Ave. N. corridors. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 on the D Line and 2022 on the B line. It should take about two years for each line. 

● Included in the bill is funding for preliminary planning and engineering work for the E Line, which is intended as a faster version of Route 6. Assuming that full funding eventually comes, construction could start as early as 2023. 

This is definitely good news and a reminder that our transit system isn’t dead, it’s just sleeping its way through the COVID-19 pandemic. Though I am personally mad at society for believing in forcing health on people, I will be glad when it’s over so things go back to normal, like being able to dine in at restaurants, browse books at the library, or just sit down in a public place. 

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