Station is expected to be complete by the start of rail service in late 2009
The Northstar Commuter Rail Fridley Station is expected to be fully operational when Minnesota’s first commuter rail service begins in late 2009. Today, the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) granted $9.9 million for construction of the previously deferred station as part of its first round of transportation grants.
“This is great news for commuters who are anxious to ride the line in 2009,” said Dan Erhart, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA).
“Residents and businesses in southern Anoka County, as well as in neighboring Hennepin and Ramsey counties, will greatly benefit from having a station conveniently located in Fridley,” added Jim Kordiak, the Anoka County commissioner who represents the area. “I am grateful to our many supporters on this project, and in particular our local legislators Carolyn Laine and Tom Tillberry who have been involved throughout this process.”
The other Northstar stations — downtown Minneapolis, Coon Rapids-Riverdale, Anoka, Elk River and Big Lake — are under construction using a mix of federal, county and state funds. The Fridley station was included in Northstar’s original plans. However, the NCDA was forced to defer the station because of cost considerations. Anoka County Regional Rail Authority and Fridley area officials worked with the CTIB to secure funding.
The $9.9 million grant, combined with funds already invested by the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority and the city of Fridley, completes the funding needed. The grant was made possible by the new ¼-percent metro sales tax passed by state legislators and participating metro counties in early 2008.
“I am so pleased to see this local result of the transportation bill we passed at the legislature earlier this year,” said State Representative Laine who represents Fridley. “The transportation bill provided the option for the sales tax increase for transit projects.”
The construction bidding process for the Fridley station will begin in December. Construction is expected to begin in late winter or early spring 2009.
The station will be ready when Northstar service starts late next year because the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority and Fridley have already completed some of the initial steps. In May 2008, the Rail Authority paid for the $1.5 million construction of a pedestrian tunnel under the BNSF train tracks, and the Fridley Housing and Redevelopment Authority acquired land for the east side park-and-ride lot at the site.
These decisions to keep moving forward were wise ones, according to Robert Barnette, Fridley city councilman and NCDA member.
“This is a great day for Fridley,” Barnette said. “Our persistence and hard work have paid off. Thanks to the support of many people and the financial help from CTIB, station construction can be complete in time for service start up in late 2009.”
The Fridley station will be located off of East River Road near the intersection of Main Street and 60th Avenue and will include:
- A pedestrian tunnel for safe crossing under the train tracks
- Automated ticket and Metro Transit Go-To card kiosks
- On-demand heating in covered and enclosed platform shelters
- Bicycle lockers
- Fully ADA compliant platforms
- Security cameras on the platforms, trains and in parking lots
- Well-lit parking and station facilities
About the Counties Transit Improvement Board
The Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) — comprised of Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties — is leading development of light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit lines in the metro area. CTIB investment in projects will help commuters, residents and businesses move more quickly and efficiently. With smart, affordable transportation becoming a high priority for Minnesotans, CTIB investments will respond directly by building transit lines throughout the region. The CTIB receives its funding through the new ¼-percent metro sales tax.
About the Northstar Commuter Rail Project
Northstar Commuter Rail will provide service starting in late 2009 on the 40-mile segment of existing track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis. Northstar trains will offer commuter service during prime morning and evening weekday rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service. The project is a joint effort of the Metropolitan Council, Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA).
The NCDA is a joint powers board of 30 governmental entities representing counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the Northstar Corridor — an 80-mile stretch from downtown Minneapolis to St. Cloud.
For more information, please visit www.mn-GetOnBoard.com.