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Published December 30 2012

St. Paul businesses hopeful as rail work wraps up

ST. PAUL — St. Paul business owners who've suffered during the massive light-rail construction project are hopeful that bottom lines will start to perk up now that construction is winding down.

The Central Corridor line connecting downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis won't start running until 2014. But heavy construction finished this month, with 18 stations all structurally ready. Work for the next year includes installing electrical substations and wiring, testing the actual train cars and training drivers.

The Pioneer Press reports Sunday that since major light-rail construction began in March 2011, 70 businesses closed along the 11-mile corridor while another 16 relocated elsewhere. But another 86 businesses opened, and the Metropolitan Council reports the project has helped seed $2 billion in new investments so far, including many new housing units.