As the Twin Cities Metro area works to expand its public transportation with a new rail line, problems are arising at both ends of the proposed project.
Later this month, the Met council will vote on the designated route for the Central Corridor light-rail line that will connect the downtowns of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. It appears that the original plans overshot the budget, as Minnesota Public Radio reports, and now the time crunch is on to cut back on spending. Final decisions for exact routes and stops also have to be made.
On one end, the University of Minnesota is pushing to keep the rail line off street level near the University, with President Bruinicks acting as the mouthpiece. The editorial staff for the Minnesota Daily also agrees, speculating that a train compounded onto the already heavy car and foot traffic would be too cumbersome.
The other end of the line, in downtown Saint Paul, might be pushed back a block to save some money. The new last stop would be at Fourth Street, and the cut back would lessen the cost of the project as well as get it closer to being eligible for Federal matching funds.
In the middle of the line, the city of Saint Paul has proposed three additional stops along University Avenue, the Star Tribune reports. The city suggests that the increase of mass-transit-dependent riders of lower incomes would help offset costs. This plan will also be in the consideration of the Met council.
As traffic gets heavier, and the proposals for more light-rail and commuter lines pop up, the Central Corridor line might be a good litmus test for mass transit in the future.