St. Paul-Woodbury transit plan gets White House nod

Backers of a proposed transit line connecting downtown St. Paul to Woodbury say they're encouraged by recent recognition from the White House.

President Barack Obama pledged last week to accelerate the federal permitting and review process for the Gateway Corridor, along with 10 other projects across the country.

Local planners are leaning toward bus-rapid transit over light rail and expect to make a final decision on the mode and alignment in the coming months, said Washington County Commissioner Lisa Weik. A draft environmental impact statement is due out next year, and service on the Gateway Corridor could begin as early as 2022.

The president's actions don't guarantee that the project will be built anytime soon, or that it will receive federal money.

Still, it helps to hear the federal government say it will work to make sure the project is not delayed, said Washington County transportation planner and Gateway project manager Andrew Gitzlaff.

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