Highways, bus facilities and other infrastructure across the Twin Cities would get an infusion of federal cash under a $208 million round of grants recently recommended by a key regional board.
The Transportation Advisory Board, largely made up of local elected officials, reviews and recommends which local infrastructure projects should get federal funding. The most recent approvals cover 58 projects from 2018 to 2021.
Nearly half the money, about $100 million, will be used to reconstruct, modernize or expand roadways around the metro area. About $53 million will be directed to improving the transit system, largely through better bus service and stops.
One of the most significant road projects involves constructing an underpass along Fairoak Avenue beneath Hwy. 10 in Anoka, with the aim of making the area safer for drivers and pedestrians; $7 million was earmarked for the project, which is expected to cost more than $30 million.
New highway interchanges in Brooklyn Center, Dayton, Louisville Township and an area of Washington County are in line for $25 million.
The largest project recommended for funding was Metro Transit’s new bus garage in the North Loop area of Minneapolis, though the $7 million grant it would get is a sliver of the overall budget. “Metro Transit cannot add any additional peak [rush] hour bus service in the region without additional bus storage,” Metro Transit said in its grant application.
Other Metro Transit grants would be used to boost the speed and frequency of two of the area’s busiest bus routes, along Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue. Additional money will help build shelters and add amenities to bus stops on Penn and Chicago avenues.
About $26 million was directed toward shared-use bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The largest of those grants, about $5.5 million, would build an off-street trail for bicycling and a walkway on Johnson Parkway in St. Paul.
The list of recommended projects will be open for comment this summer. The Transportation Advisory Board is expected to give its final approval in the fall, followed by signoff from the Metropolitan Council and the federal government. The process occurs every two years.
See the full list of projects at: tinyurl.com/TABProjects.