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Minneapolis Southwest light-rail project fails to secure state funding


The Minnesota Legislature failed to pass a transportation funding bill that would have secured the final $135 million necessary to build the Southwest light-rail project in Minneapolis.

Photo: Metropolitan Council

An extension of the city's Green Line route, the Southwest light-rail project needed those state funds in order to receive $895 million in matching federal funds, the Star Tribune reported last week. So far, about $130 million has been spent on planning and designing the project.

The $1.79 billion line could still be resurrected if Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton decides to hold a special legislative session to approve public works and transportation projects, according to the newspaper.

Although the Southwest project didn't obtain the funding, the project still has "overwhelming support from the communities, businesses and local elected officials along the line," said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck in a prepared statement. The council is overseeing the light-rail project.

"We are determined to find a solution to keep the project on schedule," added Duininck, noting that the council is working with Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Counties Transit Improvement Board and Hennepin County to fill the remaining funding gap.

Earlier this month, the Federal Transit Administration issued a final environmental impact statement for the project. The agency won't approve federal funding until local financing is secured, however.

The 14.5-mile route would run from downtown Minneapolis through St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, Minn.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/31/2016