WASHINGTON, D.C. — Renovations to Minnesota’s historic Union Depot in St. Paul can now begin thanks to a signed agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority for $35 million.

The money will pay for the renovation of the multimodal transit hub in the heart of downtown St. Paul and for the restoration of tracks, driveways, and sidewalks. The upgrades will help create a vibrant transportation center, revitalize downtown, and promote economic growth with greater access to the city’s businesses.

The project will connect several modes of transportation to one facility to provide seamless service to travelers and link St. Paul to other cities in the region.

Protected bike storage would make it even easier for riders to access transit without having to drive a car, and that the depot has the future capacity for high-speed intercity passenger rail service, said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.

“The Union Depot project embodies perfectly the goals of the Recovery Act,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “It will create jobs now while improving the quality of life for thousands of St. Paul residents in the future.”

The overall project is $237.5 million, which includes renovation of the transit facility — co-locating Amtrak, intercity bus carriers, local bus, light-rail services, taxis, and bicycle accommodations.

The $35 million was awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. TIGER funding is designed to promote innovative, multi-modal, and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region, or the nation.

The department announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of ARRA on Feb. 17.