Central Corridor takes huge step with FTA application


After 19 months of preliminary engineering, the Metropolitan Council submitted its 4,000-page application on Sept. 5 for federal approval to enter into the final design phase of the Central Corridor Light-Rail Transit (LRT) line.

The application includes information on project plans, technical drawings, ridership projections of 42,000 weekday riders by 2030, operating and maintenance costs, and the project’s $914.9 million budget.

“We have had to overcome several major challenges to get this far, but I am very optimistic about the Central Corridor project,” said Met Council Chair Peter Bell.

That budget came in just under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) required cost-effectiveness index of $24.49, at $24.41, after increases in the costs of building materials and components forced modifications of the plan approved in February.

If approved, the FTA will provide half of the funding needed for construction, with the other half provided from state and local sources, including the state Legislature, the Ramsey and Hennepin County rail authorities and the newly formed Counties Transit Improvement Board, which have all committed funding, according to the Met Council.

The FTA is expected to make a decision by early next year.