Cancellation an Option as Costs Jump for Minneapolis' Light Rail Extension

An already controversial project got bad news earlier this week, as substantial increases in the expected cost of the Southwest LRT extension added more fuel to the fire for opponents of the project.

May 3, 2015, 1:32 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

"What was once a $1.66 billion price tag to extend light rail from Target Field Station to Eden Prairie is now a nearly $2 billion price tag," reports Peter Callaghan.

The increased cost is due to newly discovered engineering challenges posed by conditions of the ground along the route, according to Callaghan. The news comes at a bad time, with the project's draft environmental impact report expected for release next month. The report could include more increases in the cost of completing the project.

Callaghan also reports that Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is "shocked and appalled" at the new costs. Callaghan quotes Governor Dayton directly to raise the possibility that the new costs could spell the doom of the extension project: "The continuing escalation of the costs to design and build this line raise serious questions about its viability and affordability," said Governor Dayton. 

The article includes more details about the engineering requirements that led to the increased costs, and some speculation about what happens next for the project.

Monday, April 27, 2015 in MinnPost

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