Over the next year, the Metropolitan Council plans to invest $26 million in economic development and job creation along metro transit corridors through the council’s Livable Communities grant program.
The new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Fund , approved Wednesday, will offer grants to cities to support development along rail and bus routes. The goal will be to encourage high density, mixed use, pedestrian-friendly development adjacent to transit stations.
“Encouraging economic development and job growth along transit corridors is a council priority,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh. “Expanding the number of people who live and work on major transitways ensures we make better use of our resources, expanding opportunities for all.
The council expects to make available up to $13 million to eligible communities this year and another $13 million in 2012. The funds come from Livable Communities grants the council previously awarded to communities, but that were returned when qualified development projects did not move forward as planned during the recession.
Council officials say the downturn in the economy meant some communities had to postpone or abandon planned development projects that were funded with Livable Communities dollars. The TOD grants will give local communities a new tool with which to attract and target economic development.