Orange Line project receives funding commitment

- The project for the Orange Line, a 17-mile highway bus line stretching from downtown Minneapolis to Burnsville, still has a chance to someday get rolling.

Currently, express buses only run during rush hours.

Jessica Treat with Transit for Livable Communities helped  organize supporters Wednesday morning and pack a meeting held by the Counties Transit Improvement Board.

The board committed $37.5 million for the project, which would include a new Lake Street bus transfer station. Board Chair Peter McLaughlin points out it is long overdue.

“There will be 90 buses an hour stopping here during rush hour,” said McLaughlin. “That's one every 40 seconds. It's going to be moving thousands of people each and every day.”

But the money allotted is only 83 percent of the local money required. Another $12 million in state funds is still needed, ideally before the entire project is submitted for federal consideration, which if approved would pay the other half of the total costs.

“It's a fierce competition nationally, but by making that commitment and doing it in timely way we can get it into application that is going in on Sept. 2,” said McLaughlin.

Supporters hope this puts more pressure on state law makers and the bonding bill during a special session.

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