ST. LOUIS – The Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners approved a resolution and memorandum of understanding with the City of St. Louis on Friday to plan, design, and construct the Jefferson Alignment Metrolink Expansion.

“What a great milestone, and the city is on board, and under the leadership of Mayor Jones, we’re looking at the Jefferson Alignment for expanding MetroLink,” said Taulby Roach, president, and CEO of Bi-State Development.

The federal government’s New Starts program funds capital transit projects such as the Jefferson Alignment Metrolink Expansion with up to $4.6 billion per year.

Bi-State and the city will apply for funds, with 40% of the project paid for locally.

“The public has already voted in a self-taxing initiative in the city and county to expand MetroLink,” Taulby said. “We’ve been banking that money, waiting for a project like this.”

For phase one, the route runs from Chippewa to the south, then north on Jefferson to Natural Bridge and Fairgrounds Park. Phase two will continue in north St. Louis County.

“This is a slightly different operating profile than our traditional MetroLink,” Roach said. “It’ll still be MetroLink street running, but a lower profile than our traditional MetroLink.”

The extension line will most likely be built into the middle of the street, with stops at Market and Jefferson, as well as the new National Geospatial Agency.

“Part of this process is we need to be soliciting the public about how a station location might fit their neighborhoods,” Roach said. “Look, this is about working ourselves into the fabric into all the parallel communities and neighborhoods.”

When Bi-State announces public meetings for input, residents will have a chance to say where and what the station locations along Jefferson might look like. The cost to build the first phase is estimated at $850 million.