Building a trolley line on Robert Street through West St. Paul to downtown St. Paul would cost $370 million, consultants reported last week.
By contrast, ramping up bus service on Robert Street with more stations and frequent service would cost $27 million.
Another alternative — bus rapid transit (BRT) on Hwy. 52 into Inver Grove Heights — would cost $43 million.
The numbers come from a Kimley-Horn and Associates study of how to improve transit in the Robert Street corridor. A steering committee of local officials received the report and is scheduled to recommend an option to Dakota County and Ramsey County commissioners early next year.
By 2030, the improved bus service would be expected to attract 3,100 average weekday users; the trolley an estimated 3,000, and the Hwy. 52 BRT service an estimated 2,300.
The trolley and improved bus service would bring in the same number of expected new riders: 400. On Hwy. 52, where there is currently no bus service, the BRT would bring in 800 new riders.