ST. LOUIS — Local leaders’ preferred route for the potential MetroLink northside-southside line has shifted a bit, running along Jefferson Avenue from Chippewa Street to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters.
Taulby Roach, president and CEO of the Bi-State Development Agency, is backing the new version along with Mayor Tishaura O. Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.
The tweaking, Roach said on social media, “is more straightforward, and still accomplishes the goals we’re looking for.”
The change also would bring the first phase of the proposed line alongside the city’s new Major League Soccer stadium under construction.
The revision will be submitted this fall for review and approval to the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, which oversees federally funded projects in the metro area.
The revised route would follow Parnell Street along the western end of the NGA site, then go west along Natural Bridge Avenue to North Grand Boulevard.
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The Gateway Council in 2018 had previously backed a slightly different version.
That alignment would begin at Jefferson and Chippewa on the south, turn east at Chouteau Avenue and move through the heart of downtown before turning west at Delmar Boulevard. It would go north along North 14th Street and west on Cass Avenue to get to the NGA site.
AECOM, a consulting firm that worked on that proposal, in 2018 had estimated the price tag at $667 million. Roach said the revised plan would cost $600 million to $800 million.
The same firm has been picked to update the plan and to work on a proposed extension of the route into north St. Louis County. That would cost additional money.
City voters in 2017 approved a sales tax increase to help pay for an eventual MetroLink expansion. The county also has a sales tax fund that can be used for transit expansion.
However, local officials for years have said the federal government would have to pay for most of the construction costs or the line couldn’t be built.
The chances for getting significant federal money improved last year when Congress passed a major infrastructure funding bill.