St. Paul depot rehab gets more federal money

The hub
The historic Union Depot in downtown St. Paul is expected to become the center for a transit system through the eastern Twin Cities. The federal government has awarded $80 million so far to pay for renovating the depot.
MPR photo/Dan Olson

A plan to rehabilitate St. Paul's Union Depot has received a second round of federal funding.

A $35 million grant for the project was announced Wednesday by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. That's in addition to $45 million previously granted to the project.

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a DFLer whose district includes St. Paul, said the money will help make the depot a transportation hub, just as it was nearly 100 years ago.

"We've got Central Corridor coming in, and now this is about bringing Amtrak in here as soon as possible. Next step is high-speed rail," said McCollum. "We've got high-speed bus connections we can bring into the Depot. This is going to be a hub that's going to serve the Twin Cities well, and bring more businesses and attract more jobs here."

Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega said he's happy the depot will become a transportation hub once again, on a par with facilities in other cities in the region.

"To me, this is the Grand Central Station ... west of Chicago. I have traveled many in the Midwest," said Ortega. "This is the last one that's left in this condition, and we're going to bring it back."

The rehabilitation project is estimated to cost $250 million.

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