Today, the Ramsey County Council of Commissioners and the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority voted to commit $ 39.9 million in county funding to the Purple Line for the development phase of the project, the next part of the federal process.
Project leadership is expected to shift from Ramsey County to Metropolitan Council in late 2021 or early 2022, once the project completes its environmental process. As the region’s leading transit provider, the Metropolitan Council has the experience and expertise to lead the final design and construction of the project and ultimately operate the Violet Line as part of the METRO regional system. The Metropolitan Council has been involved in all aspects of the planning of the project to date.
Today’s funding commitment will allow the Metropolitan Council to enter the project development phase of the federal investment grants program. This federal program is expected to provide funding for approximately half of the expected capital cost of the project.
Based on the estimated cost and ridership of the project, financial plan, environmental benefits and congestion reduction and impacts on land use and economic development, the purple line should be eligible for the program and be competitive with other projects across the country for funding. The overall capital cost of the project is currently estimated to be between $ 457 million and $ 474 million.
The purple line will be a high quality transportation option that will provide METRO service, which is frequent, fast and reliable. The 15 mile road connects the communities of Saint Paul, Maplewood, Vadnais Heights, Gem Lake, White Bear Township and White Bear Lake. Construction could begin in early 2024, for commissioning at the end of 2026.
As part of the regional METRO system, the purple line will connect people to jobs, housing, transit stations and key destinations such as Union Depot and downtown Saint Paul, the regions hospital, Hmong Village, Phalen Regional Park, St. John’s Hospital, Maplewood Mall. and downtown White Bear Lake.
Over the past three years, project staff have collected thousands of community feedback, connecting with over 3,400 people at events, pop-up meetings, open houses, virtual events and of various other efforts. In 2020, the cities of Saint Paul, White Bear Lake, Vadnais Heights and Maplewood passed resolutions supporting the preliminary design plans for the project.
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This press release was produced by the Ramsey County government. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.