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Taxpayers may help Metrolink with cost overruns

A red, white and blue light rail car stops at a MetroLink station.
KWMU file photo

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – The head of the St. Louis area's public transportation system today defended a contract that could leave taxpayers responsible for some Metrolink extension cost overruns.

Metro president Larry Salci says the project is about $125 million over its original $550 million budget.

The former construction and management companies in charge of the extension are liable for just $8 million in overruns. Salci says taxpayers could be asked to pay a small portion of the rest.

"Some of the costs were generated by changes at Metro, and some were generated by changes due to local communities along the alignment who wanted changes," Salci said. "Those costs Metro will pay for."

Metro has sued the group of companies that was responsible for building the extension. A court hearing is scheduled in March.

Salci was a guest on KWMU's "St. Louis on the Air" program Thursday.