Northside-Southside is a street-running modern light rail line that is very different from existing MetroLink lines. Because it will run on the street within neighborhoods, it can have lasting positive benefits like new development around stations and reliable transportation to jobs and school. The Northside-Southside Study will recommend a light rail project that benefits the St. Louis region in many ways.

Light rail can bring new investment, jobs and development to neighborhoods and our region.

Street-running light rail transforms neighborhoods that need new investment.

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Light rail investment has led to 2,800 new jobs in Salt Lake City and $4.2 billion in investment in the Twin Cities, MN.

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Public-private partnerships for transit-oriented development (TOD) can increase affordable housing and neighborhood amenities, like in West Denver.

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Nashville, TN is building a new light rail system, and mixed-use TOD with affordable housing is at its heart. TOD with affordable housing can help ensure residents can stay in neighborhoods even as property values increase.

Many St. Louis employers are located within the Central Corridor. The Northside-Southside line will give residents direct and reliable access to these job centers.


Affordable housing apartments and new library in West Denver

The City of Denver and other community partners have worked together to turn acres of vacant and contaminated brownfield land into transit-oriented development (TOD) near Denver's Knox and Decatur-Federal stations. The resulting development includes 80 affordable housing units and a new Denver Public Library Branch, and has spurred over $37 million in economic development.

Residents Need Transit

Many parts of the study area have the highest rates of transit use in the region. Many residents do not have reliable access to a vehicle and rely on transit to get to work and school.

Jobs Need Employees

The central portion of the Study Area, which includes Downtown St. Louis, has the highest employment density in the region and the City’s fastest rate of residential growth.

Light rail and nearby development helps brings more people and activity, adding a sense of security.


Street-running light rail brings more people and activity to help make neighborhoods safer.

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People on the street and in businesses

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Jobs and investment

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Street lights and reduced vacant buildings

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Increased police and security presence

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Hi-def cameras and other technologies

Technology and police coordination can improve safety and security.

Light rail can help exciting new projects and developments be even more successful.

New Development Projects

The City of St. Louis is home to billions of dollars in recent and planned investments throughout the Study Area.

  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s $1.75 billion, 99-acre West campus in North St. Louis
  • Ballpark Village’s $220 million second phase
  • HUD Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant: Brewery Apartment renovation, Carr School redevelopment and Preservation Square renovation
  • Cupples X $42 million office space renovation
  • Jefferson Arm’s $104 million residential unit renovation
  • 705 Olive’s $55 million Marriot renovation
  • Millions of dollars in small-scale redevelopments in Soulard, Benton Park, Benton Park West, Lafayette Square and Fox Park

Public Projects and Initiatives

Light rail could help support current and planned public initiatives and programs.

  • Project Connect
  • NNS St. Louis (A Choice Neighborhood Initiative)
  • St. Louis Promise Zone designation
  • Project LAUNCH
  • Metro’s Long-Range Transit Plan
  • City of St. Louis Sustainability Plan
  • OneSTL Regional Sustainability Plan
  • City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office parking reform efforts
  • Metro and Citizens for Modern Transit’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) study (2017)

Light rail can help preserve and improve St. Louis’ unique neighborhoods.

St. Louis has some of the nation's most historic and beautiful neighborhoods. Because street-running light rail becomes part of the neighborhood, thoughtful design, preservation policies, and increased investment can help save housing and building stock while maintaining neighborhood character.

Light rail is a reliable means to get to jobs, school and other activities.

Study Area residents - especially those without regular access to a car or mobility concerns - need improved access to jobs, education and other opportunities. The Study Area is home to many residents who live below the poverty line, do not have access to a car, and are disproportionately African American and from other minority groups.

Several of the St. Louis region's most used bus routes currently serve the Northside-Southside corridor.

The Northside-Southside study area is home to some of the region's highest concentration of residents who live at or below the poverty line, have a disability or mobility concern, or utilize food assistance programs.

We need a competitive and community-supported project.


Most public transit projects in the U.S. compete for federal construction funding through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts program. The program is competitive and awards up to 60% of the project's capital costs (typically 50% of project costs).


Federal Transit Administration's New Starts Criteria

Fifty percent (50%) of the New Starts criteria is local financial commitment, commonly known as local match. This includes a reasonable financial plan and cost estimates, commitment of funds for construction and operation, and current financial situation. Thanks to Proposition 1 in St. Louis City, Northside-Southside's local match includes an estimated $350 million for capital costs.


FTA New Starts Criteria - How it will benefit the region

The other 50% of the criteria is project justification, or how the project would benefit the community. This is a combination of community need and light rail and development benefits. All competing public transit projects use the same justification criteria.

In order to qualify for federal funding a project must receive at least a MEDIUM rating for both Local Financial Commitment and Project Justification.

Existing conditions - What is the project area like now?

Economic development - What plans, policies and development market will allow light rail to shape the community and region?

Mobility - How many people will use Northside-Southside, especially those who do not have access to a car or cannot drive?

Cost-effectiveness - What is the cost in relation to the benefits?

Environmental benefits - How would light rail improve the area and quality of life?

Congestion relief - How much will Northside-Southside improve air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and safety?


If the Northside-Southside project is chosen by the region and approved for federal funding, the earliest construction could begin in 2023 and cars would start running in 2025-2026.

Northside-Southside Project Timeline

Current action: Conditions Analysis

Upcoming action: Station Area Planning