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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $240 Million to Support Additional Bus Rapid Transit in the Twin Cities

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Funding will be used to create better, more convenient transit with fewer emissions for east metro residents to reach downtown St. Paul

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced a grant award of $239.3 million to support the Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council as it constructs the Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. The FTA Full Funding Grant Agreement will help the Metropolitan Council expand its BRT network to better connect residents of the east metro area of the Twin Cities to job centers and other opportunities through fast, frequent service from Woodbury to downtown St. Paul.

"Better transit systems mean faster commutes, cleaner air, and better options to get people where they need to go," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Twin Cities' growing BRT network is an example of how safe, convenient public transit can transform communities, and we are proud to support the new Gold Line, which will connect more people with jobs and opportunities."

The 10.3-mile Metro Transit Gold Line BRT, which will include 16 stations and seven miles of exclusive bus lanes, will connect several suburbs of the Twin Cities, including Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale, and Woodbury, and help residents and visitors move seamlessly throughout the metro area thanks to a connection to the regional transit network at St. Paul's Union Depot. By 2040, the Metropolitan Council estimates the Gold Line BRT project will provide more than two million rides annually and provide access to 89,000 jobs along the route. It will be the first BRT in Minnesota to operate mostly in a bus-only corridor, avoiding traffic along approximately two-thirds of the route.

"The Gold Line BRT project will not only provide better public transportation to residents, but it will also promote equity by connecting areas of affordable housing with jobs and other opportunities," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "We applaud the Metropolitan Council's choice to use electric-powered buses, which will improve air quality and help address climate change." 

The Metropolitan Council will improve the rider experience with pre-boarding fare payment, real-time arrival and departure screens, and station amenities. Buses will run every 10 minutes during peak hours. The Gold Line will promote equity by providing fast and efficient service in an area with twice as many low-income residents as the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Approximately 14% of all households within a half-mile from Gold Line stations don’t have a car.   

The funding comes from FTA's Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program, which helps communities carry out transformational transit projects. The program received a significant boost thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – up to $23 billion over five years, with $8 billion guaranteed, to invest in new high-capacity transit projects – to help meet the growing demand for federal transit support across the country.

Last August, Secretary Buttigieg traveled to Minneapolis to highlight a $12 million RAISE grant awarded to Hennepin County for improvements to the Lake Street corridor's BRT system.