All those worries that the federal government might not pick up half the bill for the Central Corridor light rail line can be laid to rest. A signing ceremony that will commit the feds to pay $460 million of the nearly $1 billion price tag is set for Tuesday in St. Paul.
The signing will be a grand affair, at 11 a.m., in the offices of the state Revenue Department, 600 N. Robert St., in the state Capitol complex. When it’s running in 2014, the light rail trains will go very near there.
Budget problems in Washington and talk of a new austerity mode led some to think that the Central Corridor funding might be at risk. The high-speed train to Chicago might be off-track, but light rail linking St. Paul and Minneapolis seems to be a go.
Invited to speak at Tuesday’s signing ceremony: Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Betty McCollum, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Ramsey and Hennepin County commissioners and Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh.
In addition to the big check from the Federal Transit Administration, the light rail costs will be picked up by the counties’ Transit Improvement Board, state of Minnesota, Ramsey and Hennepin counties’ regional railroad authorities, the city of St. Paul, Metropolitan Council and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.