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Rush Line bus rapid transit passes milestone vote
Two key governing bodies of the Rush Line project voted today to endorse bus rapid transit (BRT) service running mostly in bus-only lanes between Union Depot in downtown Saint Paul and White Bear Lake. The Rush Line Corridor Task Force and Policy Advisory Committee each voted to recommend BRT service as the “Locally Preferred Alternative” on a 14-mile route along Robert Street, Phalen Boulevard, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority right-of-way alongside the Bruce Vento Trail, and Highway 61.
Selecting the Locally Preferred Alternative is the project stage in which many options for routes and vehicle types are narrowed to one. Today’s votes follow an intensive planning and public engagement process underway since May 2014. The advisory committee and task force deliberated over factors including cost, ridership, travel time, access to job and activity centers, and development potential. They also gathered direct input from neighbors, commuters, businesses and community groups in determining the most promising potential route and service options.
The Locally Preferred Alternative must now be presented and approved by the elected officials of each city along the line – Saint Paul, Maplewood, White Bear Lake, Vadnais Heights and Gem Lake – along with the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority in order to advance to the next project stages of environmental review, design and engineering. Construction of the line could begin as soon as 2023.