Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – One of the things discussed during the first of this week’s three Open House sessions Tuesday night was the exhorbitant cost of a full 19-mile-long Metrolink route connecting I-55 and Bayless to I-70 and Goodfellow.

Project manager Dan Meyers with Aecom says the estimated price tag would likely top $1.3 billion.

“But we’re also looking at maybe a starter system,” Meyers explained during the public session at 5 Star Senior Center on Arsenal. “Something that’s a little bit less expensive, so we’re looking at something that maybe could be about $650 million to $700 million.”

It would stretch about nine to ten miles long, perhaps from Chippewa north to Grand and Natural Bridge.

That was just one of the options discussed with dozens of members of the publlic who came out for Tuesday night’s session.

They heard where the project currently stands and got the chance to take part in a survey to add their input into the planning for a northside-southside Metrolink route.

ml2 North South Metrolink Expansion May Begin With Starter System

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

Meyers said this phase will run for several months and then sometime over the summer they’ll be able to come back with a proposed north-south route.

“And then after that, the next phase of the project is really to do an environmental study on it,” Meyers told KMOX News. “What are the impacts? What are the benefits? How are you going to fix any of those impacts? Also do engineering that supports it. We have a lot of engineering that’s been done, but only at about the 5% level. So we’ve got to take up to 15, 20, 30%.”

He said that would tack on another two years, making it likely that the north-south expansion would not be up and running until 8-to-10 years down the road.

Nothing is set in stone — St. Louis city voters last April provided a major boost for the project with passage of a half-cent sale tax increase.

But Meyers notes that federal funding would still be needed for up to half of the project, and that is far from being a done deal.

In the meantime two more public Open House sessions are scheduled — one for Wednesday night at the Central Library downtown, and then on Thursday at the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club on North Grand.

Both meetings run from 4 until 7 pm.


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