Thanks in large part to a decision earlier this month by the Federal Transit Administration, in which they altered their funding formula for transit projects, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced today that funding had been secured for inclusion of Central Corridor Light Rail stations at Western Avenue, Hamline Avenue, and Victoria Street.
Saint Paul Councilmember Melvin Carter, who lives two blocks from the proposed Western Avenue station, called today’s announcement, “a victory for the countless people who’ve stood up for these stops for over five years.”
The funding fills large gaps in the proposed rail line. “Like so many others, that’s never made sense to me,” Carter said. “A billion dollar transit improvement in our community, should in fact, improve transit in our community!”
Late last week, a coalition of Rondo neighborhood groups and residents filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block construction of the proposed line. Among their concerns was the lack of stations on Western and Victoria to serve the largely minority and ethnic communities.
Veronica Burt with the Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee said while they were happy to hear of the inclusion of the additional stations, the Federal lawsuit would continue. Burt said the stations were only a portion of the group’s concerns, along with increased property taxes, increased crime, mitigating the loss of on-street parking and making sure that small businesses survive construction.