The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) 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, according to the administration's news release.
"Better transit systems mean faster commutes, cleaner air, and better options to get people where they need to go," said Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Transportation Secretary. “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 throughout the metro area courtesy of 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 2 million rides annually and provide access to 89,000 jobs along 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 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.