Rochester to receive $7.4M federal grant for new park-and-ride

(ABC 6 News) – The City of Rochester will receive a $7.4 million federal grant to build a new park-and-ride, announced the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

The federal grant is part of a larger total of $25.8 million awarded to the City of Rochester and three Minnesota transit agencies.

The City of Rochester will use the grant to build a park-and-ride lot to allow residents and visitors to park outside downtown and take Rochester Public Transit (RPT) routes to jobs and opportunities. MnDOT says this will help increase transit demand, reduce congestion and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

The 200-stall parking deck will be located on city-owned land on North Broadway Avenue. Located adjacent to the Rochester Recreation Center, the facility will also provide needed parking capacity for events there—especially at off-peak times and weekends when parking demand related to commuting is low.

“This project will support a growing Rochester by reducing roadway congestion and parking demand in downtown, increasing transit ridership, and helping to reach our sustainability goals,” according to Rochester City Administrator Alison Zelms. “It signals our long-term commitment to healthy living and transit-oriented development.”

Other Minnesota transit agencies receiving grant money are below:

  • Metro Transit – $17.5 million to buy battery-electric buses, chargers and bus equipment to replace aging diesel buses, as well as fund workforce development. The project supports Metro Transit’s goal of reducing emissions while decreasing barriers to employment and growing a local workforce through an existing apprenticeship program.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation, on behalf of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. (Heartland Express) and Southwest Minnesota Opportunity Council (Prairieland Transit) – $1.5 million to buy propane-fueled buses and supporting fueling equipment. The project will improve service and reliability and lower maintenance costs for these greater Minnesota rural transit providers.
  • White Earth Public Transit – $723,171 to buy low-emission buses with electronic farebox systems to replace older vehicles. The new buses will enable the agency to reduce fuel costs while continuing to provide much-needed bus service in rural communities on the reservation in northwest Minnesota.

“These grants will contribute directly to Minnesota’s goal of a multimodal transportation system that maximizes the health of people, the environment, and our economy,” said Mark Nelson, assistant director of MnDOT’s Office of Transit and Active Transportation. “They highlight our state’s commitment to low- and no emission vehicles in public transit and working toward a more environmentally responsible fleet across the state.”

The Minnesota grants are part of 130 awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration. The $1.7 billion in funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and includes transit projects in 46 states and territories.