Monday, March 2, 2015

Bus rapid transit (C Line) on Penn delayed

In the fall of 2014, Metro Transit announced it would pursue funds for 2016 construction of the C Line Bus Rapid Transit project along Penn Avenue North. This opportunity was tied to $12.3 million in funds previously awarded to the B Line (West 7th) BRT project -- a St. Paul project that has been stalled. These funds were tied to construction in 2016. To seize this opportunity the Metropolitan Council also authorized funds for 2015 C Line BRT design and engineering and planned for detailed design to begin in spring of 2015.
To attempt to secure the $12.3 million for 2016 construction, in December 2014, Metro Transit requested the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) reallocate the $12.3 million in funds to instead be awarded to C Line (Penn Avenue) BRT project. The Metropolitan Council has a vote on TAB, but TAB alone makes the decisions for programming these funds.
At its January 21 meeting, the TAB did not award the requested funds to the C Line project. TAB will select project(s) for these funds after it develops and adopts new policies for reallocation of withdrawn projects' funding, expected this spring/summer. However, at this point it seems unlikely that the full $12.3 million would be awarded to C Line/Penn Avenue.
The project remains a top priority for the Metropolitan Council, and Metro Transit will proceed with C Line design work in 2015 (using Metropolitan Council funds). Metro Transit will continue to pursue all potential transit funding options to advance the C Line project toward implementation. But since we were not awarded the TAB construction dollars, we don’t have a clear path to fund 2016 construction. This affords a couple more months of design schedule for mid-2016 or early 2017 construction start. Maintaining project eligibility for this 2016 funding award had called for completed construction documents at the end of calendar year 2015. What had been a very aggressive design schedule will now follow a more typical path. Under either scenario, we anticipate the same commitment to robust public engagement.

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