ST. PAUL, MINN. — The Central Corridor Light-Rail Transit Project is poised to create at least 3,400 jobs now that the federal government has forwarded the full funding grant agreement (FFGA) to Congress.
A 60-day courtesy review will occur prior to execution, when an FFGA will commit the federal government to half of the $957 million project cost. The project already has spent $145 million for design, property, and construction.
”Federal Transit Administration execution expected in April would allow the realization of 30 years of planning to unite St. Paul and Minneapolis by light rail,” Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh said. It would come 10 years after the FFGA on the first line, the Hiawatha LRT line, was executed. Central Corridor’s ridership is projected to be even higher, with 41,000 average weekday boardings expected by 2030.
The largest public works project in state history will require at least 800 construction and management jobs a year through 2013. There will be many other jobs created, such as precast and ready-mix concrete jobs, shop labor, et cetera. More than 600 job seekers already have registered their construction qualifications with www.LRTWorks.org, a website created last year by the Metropolitan Council and funded by the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. The website’s purpose is to help contractors meet goals to hire minorities and women. Another 150 jobs will be created when the operations hub opens in a rehabbed building in southern St. Paul.
With support of both past and present federal and state administrations for the Central Corridor FFGA, the Met Council awarded the major construction contracts last year and began work after receiving sufficient advance funding commitments from local funding partners, creating 571 jobs. The 3,400 jobs would be for engineering, construction, management, and operations personnel.