Central Corridor funds included in Fiscal 2011 Budget

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama’s Fiscal 2011 budget anticipates a federal funding commitment for the Central Corridor light rail project later this year, by including $45 million, an amount that Rep. Jim Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said “represents the type of funding the project could expect to receive on an annual basis once the FTA has given it final approval.”

Total federal funding could reach nearly $500 million, according to federal and local cost estimates.

“The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) typically does not include funding for a new start transit project until its final design is completed,” Oberstar said in a statement. “The fact that this funding was included in the budget now means that the FTA is confident all of the issues will be resolved in 2010 and the project will be ready to go in 2011.”

Once completed, the 11-mile Central Corridor light rail line (PDF) will connect the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Hiawatha Line. Should Congress appropriate the funding — and assuming matching funds are secured — local authorities estimate that the first passengers could board sometime in 2014.

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