Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Paul Council OKs Central Corridor LRT routing

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The St. Paul, Minn., City Council Wednesday approved the proposed $914 million, 11-mile Central Corridor light rail line linking downtown St. Paul with Minneapolis and the existing Hiawatha Line LRT. The approval makes it more likely that the project will remain on schedule and also receive federal funding.

"We're very pleased. Project on schedule," Central Corridor Director Mark Fuhrmann said after the vote.

The approval was not guaranteed. Objections to a revised placement of a light rail maintenance facility in an old factory at Broadway and Prince streets, advanced last January, had jeopardized overall approval. Some residents of the Lowertown neighborhood remain fearful of the facility’s impact.

But the original site for the facility, southeast of the city’s Union Depot Station at the line’s current planned terminus, generated various problems, including historical landmark protection, remediation of past pollution, and unstable soil.

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