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Lake Elmo votes not to be served by the Gold Line; what’s next?

Lake Elmo votes not to be served by the Gold Line; what’s next?

On January 6, the Lake Elmo City Council voted not to be on the Gateway Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line that would connect the East Metro region with new, modern transportation options. The 3-2 vote takes the city out of further planning for the line. Last fall, the City Council supported planning for the line generally, and planning for routes through Lake Elmo specifically, 5-0.

Some Lake Elmo officials expressed concerns about how BRT might affect growth and development in their city. We respect and support their interest in determining how their community will grow. The Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce (SPACC) is part of the regional partnership East Metro Strong, and East Metro Strong has been working with Lake Elmo to help the City develop answers to these questions. We believe that continuing that process would have been helpful to Lake Elmo as it sets its course for the future, and are disappointed that our work with them will now end.

So what’s next?

Lake Elmo’s decision does not change most of the important facts about the Gold Line.

Over the past five years local officials, community members and business leaders (including SPACC) from the six cities along the I-94 corridor—including from Lake Elmo—identified a variety of transportation-related needs, and developed the Gold Line as a good answer to them.

The needs remain, and the other cities along the corridor remain supportive of the Gold Line.

At this point, the Gateway Corridor Commission will determine a process for redefining the eastern end of the Gold Line.

As they do so, the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and our partners will continue to work with them to bring transportation solutions that will help the East Metro be a high quality place to live and work over the rest of the 21st century.

Working for better East Metro transit is a priority for the Chamber in 2016. We expect that defining new options for the eastern end of the line will take some time. If we can help you understand the process, please let me know. And of course we always welcome your views.

Matt Kramer
President, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce