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Two big public transportation projects in the Twin Cities and Rochester are recommended for more than $74 million in President Joe Biden's fiscal 2024 federal budget.

Metro Transit's $97 million F Line bus rapid transit (BRT) project, which will connect downtown Minneapolis to the Northtown Transit Center in Blaine, is slated to receive $45.3 million. Biden's budget also includes $28.8 million for the Link Rapid Transit Project in downtown Rochester to help cover the project's total cost of $143 million.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the funding initiative on Thursday. The projects require matching funding from local governments.

The F Line will travel along Central Avenue, 53rd Avenue and University Avenue through Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Fridley and Spring Lake Park. Buses on the line — which will largely replace service on Route 10, one of the busiest in the Metro transit system — will run every 10 minutes seven days a week, during the day and most of the evening. Service is expected to begin in 2026.

The F Line will be the sixth within the Twin Cities' regional BRT system. As with the other arterial BRT lines, it will operate in traffic but passengers will pay before entering the bus at stations that are heated and feature real-time scheduling information.

"This is great news," said Nick Thompson, Metro Transit's deputy general manager for capital projects. When a new arterial bus route begins service, ridership typically surges by 20% to 30%, he said.

The Rochester BRT line, which is expected to begin service in 2026, will travel nearly three miles along 2nd Street SW. It will connect Saint Marys Hospital and the Mayo Clinic campus; the Mayo Civic Center; the University of Minnesota, Rochester; the Downtown Transit Center; and the Rochester-Olmsted County Government Center to the West Transit Village, a proposed 13-acre transit-oriented development, and the Downtown Waterfront Southeast site.

The FTA also is recommending that Metro Transit's $2.7 billion Southwest light-rail line get an advance of nearly $292 million. But that amount is part of its previously announced federal funding of $929 million, not new money.

The Metropolitan Council, the regional planning body in charge of building the Southwest line, must unearth up to $260 million more to finish the 14.5-mile line linking downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. The project is about 70% complete and passenger service is slated to begin in 2027 — nearly 10 years behind schedule and double its original budget.

"Transit connects people to jobs, schools, loved ones and more," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in a news release. "We're proud to deliver this funding to expand transit across the country, which will create good-paying construction jobs and provide better options for people to get where they need to go."