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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Next year promises to be a big year for the planned LINK Bus Rapid Transit system in Rochester.

The Destination Medical Center Corporation met today and adopted the organization's 2024 operating and capital budgets, which include more than $35 million for the BRT system. The majority of that amount would be covered by nearly $25 million in federal funds, along with more than $9 million from the DMC in the form of transit aid funding from the state and Olmsted County.

Destination Medical Center
Destination Medical Center
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DMC Executive Director Patrick Seeb says the funding is expected to allow the City of Rochester to order the special electric buses that will service the planned BRT route from Cascade Lake through downtown Rochester and into southeast Rochester. It's also anticipated that some actual construction work on the route could begin before the end of next year.

The DMC budget also allocates $7.2 million in state funding for the Downtown District Energy System which is currently being installed outside the Rochester City Hall and uses heat pumps to provide heating and cooling. The initial project will heat and cool city hall, the public library, and the Mayo Civic Center. It's possible that private developments could also be connected to the system in the future.

Kim David/TSM
Kim David/TSM
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$1 million is being allocated for what is termed "predevelopment" along the Downtown Waterfront. Seeb says that could include permanent lighting along the riverfront, improvements to pedestrian facilities, and even the potential installation of pickleball courts on the current surface parking lots behind the former Red Owl-Time Theater-Legends Building.

City of Rochester
City of Rochester
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The capital plan for 2024 also includes $4 million for design work on the new Sixth Street Bridge over the Zumbro River just east of Broadway. The construction of the bridge, with an overall budget of $28 million, is slated to take place in 2025.

The DMC operating and capital budgets still need to be approved by the Rochester City Council. That vote is expected to occur next Monday evening.

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