Eighteen years ago today St. Louis’ initial light rail line, MetroLink, opened for service:
Construction on the initial MetroLink alignment from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to the 5th & Missouri station in East St. Louis began in 1990. The portion between North Hanley and 5th & Missouri stations opened in July 31, 1993, and the line was extended westward to Lambert Airport Main station in 1994. At that time another station, East Riverfront, was opened in East St. Louis. Four years later, in 1998, the Lambert Airport East station was added. The capital cost to build the initial phase of MetroLink was $465 million. Of that amount, $348 million was supplied by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
MetroLink exceeded pre-opening ridership estimates, but the system has expanded slowly. Construction on proposed extensions has been delayed by the increasing scarcity of FTA funds. As time has passed, an ever-greater share of the costs has been borne by state and local governments. The most recent work has been entirely funded by local dollars. (Wikipedia)
The fact we had the Eads Bridge, existing tunnels under downtown, and unused railroad right-of-way, created the needed local match to get federal funding the initial project.
Since today is the 18th anniversary I thought I’d do the weekly poll question about MetroLink: was it a good investment?
- Steve Patterson