Minnesota's Southwest Light Rail Back From the Dead

Regional and county agencies figured out a way to move forward with the Southwest light rail plan without the help of the politically divided state. That could mean the state has time to climb on board by next year's legislative session.

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September 4, 2016, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Southwest LRT

The Royalston Avenue/Farmers Market Station would be within walking distance of the Minneapolis Farmers Market, Target Field and the Hennepin Theater District. | Metropolitan Council / METRO Green Line Extension project

"Metro Transit can move into the final phases of planning for Southwest light rail, the 14.5 mile extension of the Green Line," reports Peter Callaghan.

Thanks to votes Wednesday by the Counties Transit Improvement Board and the Met Council, and another by the Hennepin County Board the day before, the region now has legal commitments to pay half the cost of the $1.858 billion project. That will allow Metro Transit staff to submit an application to the Federal Transit Administration for final agreement on federal funding.

Those moves came in response to the failure of the state Legislature to approve a state funding package, as detailed in an article by Briana Bierschbach in August. Callaghan's article includes more details about the approved funding plan and the political debate that produced its adoption.

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