Metrolink making new security improvements as they inch closer to finalizing a North-South expansion

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 11:34 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The long discussed Northside-Southside Metrolink is tracking closer to reality as Bi-State Development moves to finalize a route.

Discussions of an expansion of Metrolink have been in the works for more than a decade. Voters in 2017 approved a sales tax increase specifically for expanded services. In 2022 a revised route was presented that shifted from more stations in Downtown to a route on Jefferson Avenue from Chippewa in South St. Louis to Natural Bridge in North St. Louis. This path would take the line through areas of major development including the MLS stadium and the NGA site in North St. Louis.

“It’s roughly a 5.6 mile line so it’ll be anywhere from $500 million to $900 million,” said Taulby Roach, CEO and President of Bi-State Development.

Roach said they expect to have consesus on the route this spring and then move into design and engineering.

“We’re a good two and a half years from actually moving dirt,” he explained.

The new transist line would like run on street level on Jefferson, similar to light rail in other cities including Kansas City.

Roach said there would be a transfer station at Ewing and Jefferson to connect to the existing Metrolink line.

The project will rely heavily on federal funding. But the City of St. Louis has been collecting tax dollars for the expansion for several years.

“Right now the City of St. Louis has banked somewhere around $55 million that they’re holding for Metrolink expansion,” said Roach.

They continue to study what ridership levels could look like but as Bi-State works to bring current ridership back to pre-pandemic levels, they are working on security efforts and improvements.

Their Secure Platform Plan is underway. They are working to double the number of cameras on the existing platforms. They will start bids for construction this summer on the first several platforms which will include new gates, fare technology and fencing infrastructure.

The first four stations include, Emerson Park, JJK Center, Washington Park and College, all in the Metro East.