Minneapolis Saint Paul, During a stop in St. Paul Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced a job creating competition to put Americans back to work fixing roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Air Force One took off from a snowy Washington, D.C., and landed around 1:30 p.m. at a frigid Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Strong winds met the president’s plane, as he walked off Air Force One with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and two Twin Cities members of Congress — U.S. Reps. Betty McCullum and Keith Ellison.
The president was greeted by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
Once on the ground, Obama went to tour the Metro Transit Light Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in St. Paul.
The Minneapolis to St. Paul Green Line is one of the projects partially funded by the president’s stimulus plan.
From there, the president went to the newly renovated Union Depot in St. Paul for his main address.
When White House officials chose St. Paul’s Union Depot for Obama’s announcement of a $600 million competition for federal grants to fund infrastructure projects, they picked a site that received nearly $125 million in federal funds for a major renovation.
Union Depot went into decline in the early 1970s after the city’s dwindling passenger train service was moved to a new depot in the Midway area between downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis. It was in serious disrepair, McCollum said, when she toured it shortly after being elected to Congress in 2000.
“It had been overrun by pigeons, windows were broken and shuttered, and the space was cold and largely abandoned, except for a few empty mail carts,” McCollum said in a statement.
Today, it’s becoming a regional transit hub. It’s already being used by Metro Transit buses and some intercity bus companies, and it’s poised to become busier later this year when the Green Line starts running and Amtrak service returns.