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I-94 in east metro to be 'Gateway Corridor'

Goodbye, I-94 Corridor. Hello, Gateway Corridor.

As they prepare a marketing effort for east-metro transportation improvements, area officials scrapped the generic I-94 Corridor name. They replaced it with Gateway Corridor, a reference to the freeway corridor linking urban St. Paul to rural western Wisconsin and the suburbs in between.

An Interstate 94 corridor commission, which is made up of east-metro city, county and township leaders, approved the name change at a July 8 meeting. Commission members also backed a new logo that is intended to symbolize a corridor that does not end at the state border.

"It reflects long term the partnership with Wisconsin," said Gary Kriesel, a member of the commission and the Washington County Board.

The commission contracted with public-relations firm Tunheim Partners of Minneapolis to develop the marketing strategy. In addition to the name and logo, a new website will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

A formal launch is set for August. It will be in conjunction with the beginning of a study of transit options for I-94.

East-metro officials are trying to make up for lost time in the pursuit of state and federal funding for transportation improvements in traffic corridors around the Twin Cities region. They say they want to make a strong lobbying push because other areas of the Twin Cities already have secured funding, but the east metro will need increased transit options in the years ahead.

Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis, a commission member, said area leaders want to make transportation improvements as the region grows.