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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday authorized the Minneapolis-area Blue Line light-rail extension to move into the engineering phase.The engineering work is needed for project staff to finalize designs ahead of the start of construction in 2018, according to a press release issued by the Metropolitan Council, which oversees transit in the Twin Cities.The proposed 13-mile extension would run northwest from downtown Minneapolis through Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park, Minn. The alignment would be primarily at-grade and include 11 new stations.The FTA in September 2016 signed off on the project's environmental review, which paved the way for project staff to advance designs to a 60 percent level of detail by March 31.The project's next steps include securing the remaining 10 percent local funding match before applying for a federal funding commitment in fall 2017, Metropolitan Council officials said. That funding agreement would require the FTA to cover half of the $1.5 billion project's costs.By 2035, the line is expected to provide access to 180,000 jobs along the corridor, Metropolitan Council officials said.Last month, the FTA authorized the Green Line extension to enter the engineering phase.A map of the Blue Line Extension, which is also known as the Bottineau Light-Rail Transit project.Source: Met Council
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