Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Gateway Corridor?

The Gateway Corridor is a transitway corridor being considered for development that runs generally along Hudson Road from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul. The Gateway Corridor is the only corridor in the Twin Cities metropolitan area that connects urban, suburban and rural communities across two states, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Why is it called Gateway?

The Gateway Corridor represents entryways to urban, suburban and rural areas. It links corporate campuses, educational institutions, commercial centers, and recreational destinations. Itís the door to and from Minnesota and Wisconsinís diverse communities. Gateway describes the corridor between St. Paul and Woodbury. The Gateway Corridor Commission is comprised of elected officials and community people representing the geographical area. Gold Line is the name of the bus rapid transit service proposed for the corridor. The name, Gold Line, was selected by Metro Transit in 2014.

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Is transportation a priority issue?

Yes. In a 2013 survey of Washington County residents, ease of travel by public transit was cited as a greater problem than taxes or foreclosed properties. A statewide survey indicates nearly 80% of Minnesotans agree the state would benefit from an expanded and improved public transit system. Source: Minneapolis Regional and St. Paul Area Chambers of Commerce.

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Why is the Gateway Corridor important?

The Gateway Corridor is experiencing, and is predicted to continue experiencing, growth in population and jobs. The Gateway Corridor is home to some of Minnesotaís largest corporations and employers, including 3M, Ecolab, and Securian Financial. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has no major road improvements or expansions planned before 2030 for I-94 between St. Paul and the St. Croix River. Alternatives are needed to manage the growth.

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Who is the Gateway Corridor Commission?

In 2009, the Gateway Corridor Commission was created to study and plan alternative transportation options for the area along Interstate 94. The Commission is comprised of local elected officials and business and community leaders in the Gateway Corridor.

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What is proposed for the Gateway Corridor?

A two-year Alternatives Analysis, completed in 2013, showed transit needs of the corridor can best be met on an alignment along Hudson Road for bus rapid transit (BRT) or light rail transit (LRT) that connects the eastern metro area to the regionís transit system via Union Depot in downtown St. Paul. The transit mode, BRT, was determined as part of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement study. The study is expected to conclude in 2015.

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Why are transit updates being considered at this time?

  • It helps us compete regionally and nationally. Cities across the country are investing in regional transit systems. The Twin Cities has fallen behind, but the region is working hard to catch up in order to compete for the best workers, as well as provide for an aging, transit dependent generation.
  • It will provide a focal point for more concentrated development as the region grows. Studies show transit increases property values because people want to live near it. With corridor population growing, investment can be made in housing development and business services that cater to transit users while preserving parkland, farmland and open space.
  • Transit is a safe, less stressful and more convenient way to get to work, school, appointments, or leisure activities.
  • Transit in the Gateway Corridor can help companies recruit and retain employees.
  • Transit services in the Gateway Corridor will help seniors and others who canít drive, or choose not to drive.

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Where will transit stations be located?

The Environmental Impact Statement is looking at 13 proposed station sites, in addition to Union Depot in downtown St. Paul. They are: Mounds Blvd, Earl Street, Etna Street, White Bear Avenue, Sun Ray, 3M, Landfall, Crossroads/Oak Business Park, Guardian Angles Church, Keats Avenue, Settlers Ridge Pkwy, and Manning Avenue.

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Does the Gateway Corridor connect to other transitways?

Yes, the Gateway Corridor connects to other transitways. Along the preferred route, bus connections are, or will be, available into areas outside the station. The line terminates at Union Depot in downtown St. Paul where convenient transfers can be made to the Green Line LRT, Amtrak, city buses, skyways, and bike trails. The Green Line travels to Target Field Station in Minneapolis where connections can be made daily to approximately 1,900 buses and 450 trains, including the Blue Line (Hiawatha LRT), which travels to the international airport, and Northstar Commuter Rail. Additional connections are in various stages of development. From Union Depot, the Red Rock Corridor would connect with communities between St. Paul and Hastings; the Rush Line would connect communities between St. Paul and the northeast suburbs. At Target Field Station, the Green Line would continue to Eden Prairie in the Southwest Corridor, and the Blue Line would continue to Brooklyn Park in the Bottineau Transitway. More information.

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Why are transportation alternatives important?

Population and employment are growing in the east metro. Transit provides options for everyone. People who canít or choose not to drive depend on a robust transit system for work, recreation and appointments. The number of young people nationwide, ages 20 to 24, with drivers licenses has decreased from 92 percent in 1983 to 79 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, baby boomers are beginning to reach old age, and perhaps transportation dependency, in large numbers.

A well-balanced regional transit system improves our ability to compete with other metropolitan areas for economic development opportunities while protecting the quality of our environment.

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What are the steps in the process?

The Gateway Corridor is going through a Federal Transit Administration process. Competition for federal funding is fierce among transit projects throughout the country. Projects must prove themselves through a rigorous program of analysis and review. The Gateway Corridor completed the Alternatives Analysis in 2013. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement has begun and will likely take two years to complete. Following the Draft EIS is preliminary engineering and final engineering before construction can commence, if all standards have been met and funding secured. Throughout the process, there are many opportunities for public input.

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When will I be able to ride rapid transit in the Gateway Corridor?

Depending on federal approvals and funding, service may begin as early as 2022 in the Gateway Corridor.

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How does the public provide input on the proposal?

Community leaders, residents and business people are engaged throughout the process through open houses and advisory committees. Presentations to community groups are available. Use the contact us form on this website to request a presentation. Sign up for occasional e-newsletters to find out about open houses.

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Why do cost and ridership estimates change?

Each step of the process is designed to provide a deeper analysis of the proposal. Data is refined as more information becomes available about engineering, population and employment projections, and environmental impacts.

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How is it funded?

The Gateway Corridor intends to apply for federal New Starts funding. If the Corridor is a recipient of the federal funds, the Federal Transit Administration would fund 50%, the Counties Transit Improvement Board would fund 30%, the State of Minnesota would fund 10%, and Washington and Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authorities would fund 10% of the capital costs of the project. After its construction, Metro Transit will operate and maintain the Gateway Corridor. Please see the Metro Transit website for information about funding sources for operations and maintenance.

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Will the transit service require a subsidy?

All transportation modes, including roads, require public money to build and maintain. User fees do not cover the costs. As ridership grows over time, the amount of subsidy is expected to diminish. Metro Transit, the operator of public transit in the Twin Cities, is recognized nationally as a leader in providing service in effective and cost efficient ways.

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What is the return on transit investments in the Twin Cities?

The question was researched by the Itasca Project, an employer-led civic alliance focused on building a thriving economy and quality of life in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region and reducing and eliminating socioeconomic disparities. They reviewed the Metropolitan Councilís 2030 transportation plan and looked at direct impacts of a few well-established metrics focused on transportation, safety and health, including vehicle operating costs, travel times and travel reliability, shippers and logistics costs, emissions, safety costs, and road pavement conditions.

They concluded, based on direct impacts alone, the benefits of implementing a regional transit system far outweigh the costs:

  • Building the 2030 regional plan would result in $6.6 Ė 10.1 billion in direct benefits, on a $4.4 billion investment (between 2030 Ė 2045)
  • Accelerating the system build out to 2023 would result in increased direct benefits: $10.7 Ė 16.5 billion on a $5.3 billion investment
  • More community growth near transit stations would also increase the return on investment by an additional $2 - $4 billion

In addition to the quantified direct benefits, the region would benefit from many wider economic benefits:

  • Increased access to employers (an additional 500,000 within 30-minute commute)
  • 30,000 construction jobs and $4.3 billion in economic impacts

Interviewed employers reinforced the benefits of a regional transit system as critical for attracting and retaining employees. The Transit ROI study can be found here.

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What is TOD?

Transit-oriented development is a mixed-use residential and commercial area designed to maximize access to public transportation, and often incorporates features to encourage transit ridership.

Experience with Hiawatha and Central Corridor LRT in the Twin Cities shows the power of fixed transitways to attract development:

  • 2 million square feet of office space was constructed within half a mile of Hiawatha from 2004-2010
  • Development of new housing exceeded 2020 projections by nearly 50% within first year of operation

SOURCE: Itasca Project report on Met Council, U of MN Transitways Impact Research Program

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Community and business outreach is a valued part of the Gateway Corridor study process. Staff is available to present at any community meeting or event. Please submit a request on the contact us page if you would like us at your next meeting.


Gateway Corridor Fact Sheet

Current overview and next steps in transit planning.

Download Fact Sheet (PDF)

Gateway Corridor Map

Map of the Gateway Corridor.

Download Map (PDF)