The city of Minneapolis wants plans for the collapsed Interstate 35W to include the possible future implementation of space for light rail and bus rapid transit. The state department of transportation, however, has a differing vision.
"Minneapolis plans to flex its muscle on the design of the new Interstate 35W bridge, but the city and state transportation officials disagree over how much power local officials will wield over light rail and other major elements."
"Before starting construction, the state must give Minneapolis a report describing the bridge's purpose, route and proposed design, under a state law that calls for "municipal consent" by local government on highway projects. The city then approves or disapproves."
"But some elements the city wants, according to a draft statement issued Thursday, seem to conflict with the Minnesota Department of Transportation's stated vision. Specifically, the city believes the design 'should incorporate, and certainly not preclude options for future transit improvements, including light rail and bus rapid transit.'"
"That doesn't mean the span should immediately include a light-rail line, or that Hiawatha light rail should take that route, Mayor R.T. Rybak said."
"'We said what we need to do is preserve all options for rail,' Rybak said."