Speaker Pelosi visits St. Paul rail depotby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was in St. Paul today to tour Union Depot.
The historic depot recently won a $35 million federal stimulus grant to help it become a modern transportation center.
Pelosi was accompanied by fellow Democratic Reps. Jim Oberstar and Betty McCollum.
Oberstar says the Depot project's working budget is nearly $238 million. Officials have gathered most of that money through federal sources. Minnesota contributed half-a-million dollars.
Oberstar says the project is still short at least a million dollars.
"There is still a gap -- the state of Minnesota does not have a statewide rail plan," Oberstar said. The governor needs to be participatory in developing a state wide rail plan."
A spokesman for Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Pelosi says the shovel-ready project is a model for the Midwest.
"This is the future. This is a lot of money but a small price to pay for taking this region into the future," she said.
The depot is set to open in September 2012. The facility is intended to serve as a hub for Amtrak, buses, and the central corridor light rail.