The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) and the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority are starting renovations Minnesota’s historic Union Depot in Saint Paul thanks to $35 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act’s (ARRA) TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program.
TIGER funding is designed to promote innovative, multimodal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.
The money will pay for the renovation of the multimodal transit hub in the heart of downtown Saint Paul and for the restoration of tracks, driveways and sidewalks. The upgrades will help create a vibrant transportation center, revitalize downtown and promote economic growth with greater access to the city’s businesses.
“This project is another great example of how the Recovery Act is creating jobs and improving lives in cities and towns around the nation,” said U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “This project will bring together transportation options all at one location in a way that is convenient for passengers and beneficial to the environment.”
The project will connect several modes of transportation to one facility to provide seamless service to travelers and link Saint Paul to other cities in the region.
“The Recovery Act is improving livability for Saint Paul residents by providing more travel choices,” said Federal Highway Administrator (FHWA) Victor Mendez in written statement from the U.S. DOT. “With its all-inclusive approach to transportation designed to serve everyone, the Union Depot is an excellent model for urban communities.”
Mendez added that protected bike storage would make it even easier for riders to access transit without having to drive a car and that the depot has the future capacity for high-speed intercity passenger rail service.
“The Union Depot project embodies perfectly the goals of the Recovery Act,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff in a prepared statement. “It will create jobs now while improving the quality of life for thousands of Saint Paul residents in the future.”
The overall project is $237.5 million, which includes renovation of the transit facility includes co-locating Amtrak, intercity bus carriers, local bus, light rail services, taxis and bicycle accommodations.
The U.S. DOT announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of ARRA on Feb. 17.