Commission recommends rapid bus line for I-94 corridorA commission set up to plan a mass transit system for the Interstate 94 corridor between St. Paul and Eau Claire has come out with a recommendation for a high-speed bus line.
A commission set up to plan a mass transit system for the Interstate 94 corridor between Minneapolis and Eau Claire has come out with a recommendation for a high-speed bus line.
The Gateway Corridor Commission voted unanimously to advance the bus-rapid transit plan after months of considering a number of options, including light rail and commuter trains.
Gateway commissioners weighed the options against three main criteria: improving mobility; providing cost-effective, economically viable transit; and supporting economic development. The bus rapid-transit option received high marks among all criteria.
Any development of the bus line is still years away.
The rapid bus option is expected to cost $404 million and have annual operating expenses of about $10 million.
A study aimed at winnowing down the options concluded the rapid bus plan was the most promising, compared to the other options that were too expensive or wouldn’t foster economic development.
The plan is for a dedicated bus route through Woodbury that would run south of I-94 and to St. Paul’s Union Depot.
The route would be on the freeway in Wisconsin.
The plan calls for a park-and-ride facility at Carmichael Road in Hudson.
Dennis Darnold, Hudson’s community development director, said there are seven or eight possible locations for the park and ride. He said most of the sites, both north and south of the freeway, are now privately owned.
Darnold said the next steps for the commission will be to seek Federal Highway Administration funding and complete environmental reviews.
He doesn’t expect the plan to be implemented for another three to four years, if that soon.