Gold Line BRT

HNTB is serving in a program management consultant (PMC) role for Metro Transit providing project management and environmental services for this 10-mile dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) project in St. Paul, MN. The Gold Line is currently in the Engineering Phase of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program.

The METRO Gold Line is Minnesota’s first BRT line that operates primarily within exclusive bus-only lanes with dedicated guideway along nearly 70 percent of the corridor.

The project includes four new BRT-exclusive bridges and two underpasses of existing roadways. Two bridges include dedicated guideway lanes, general purpose traffic lanes and pedestrian facilities. Three surface park-and-rides and one structured parking facility are included. There will be 21 full amenity stations with off-board fare collection, real-time departure signs, heat, lighting, bike racks and enhanced security serviced by a mixed fleet of diesel and electric buses.

Since joining the project as PMC in November 2017, HNTB has successfully supported Metro Transit in achieving several major milestones:

  • Lead the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)
  • Project Development Phase completion submittal to the FTA
  • New Starts Project application to the FTA, resulting in a medium-high project rating
  • Entry into Engineering application, which was approved by the FTA on April 13, 2021

HNTB is currently supporting the development of the Full Funding Grant Agreement application (FFGA), to the FTA. Upon approval of the FFGA, the project will begin construction.

Under the PMC contract, HNTB serves as an extension of staff to the client to augment support/expertise in specific task areas. This support provides valuable independence from the Design contract, for critical tasks such as Value Engineering, Constructability Reviews, Design Peer Reviews, Construction Cost Estimate Peer Reviews, and Independent Cost Estimates.

Our PMC team is also responsible for numerous additional project support tasks, including:

  • Project management/project controls, such as scheduling and cost estimating, FTA reporting and coordination support
  • Risk management
  • Safety and security
  • Land use
  • Economic development
  • Construction oversight
  • Change Management

HNTB has supported Section 106 with consulting parties and ongoing NEPA efforts to complete Environmental Assessment re-evaluations at 30, 60 and 90 percent design milestones to confirm the environmental decision for Finding of No Significant Impact with the FTA and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The HNTB team developed an integrated project cash flow model that helped Metro Transit and its local partners understand funding needs and constraints, and we incorporated cost estimates, the master project schedule, Standard Cost Categories (SCC) workbooks and FTA reports to assess and mitigate risks. The team evaluated effects on the financial plan and developed a strategy to balance local funding plans with uncertainties related to New Starts funding.

Metro Transit’s Gold Line is anticipated to serve and draw ridership from a broader area in the region as well, including the City of Minneapolis, Washington County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Hennepin County and portions of western Wisconsin.