Central Corridor rail funding closer to reality, or is it?

The Central Corridor light rail transit folks have learned they're almost guaranteed a federal full funding grant agreement for the train line.

Word came from the Federal Transit Administration. The agency has sent to Congress its proposal to pay half the cost, nearly $500 million, for a St. Paul to Minneapolis light rail service. Congress has 60 days to review the proposal.

So what will Congress do? Will the new Republican House majority give a thumbs down to transit spending?

In the opinion of Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project director Mark Fuhrmann "there's now a 99.9% chance the project will get federal funding." Fuhrmann, a veteran of seven previous transit projects here and elsewhere and on a first name basis with a scad of bureaucrats at FTA has some credibility behind this prediction.

Fuhrmann predicts a full funding grant agreement by April for the $957 million project. Fuhrmann and colleagues haven't exactly been sitting on their hands waiting for the feds to act. All the major contracts totaling tens of millions have been let. Construction is underway, the trains have been ordered, all on the assumption the funding agreement will be approved.

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