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The Metropolitan Council last week received Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approval to begin designing the Metro Blue Line Extension northwest of Minneapolis, the region's fourth light-rail transit project.The FTA granted project's entry into the federal New Starts program. The approval to enter project development and begin preliminary engineering is the first of several approvals required by the federal government, Metropolitan Council officials said in a press release. "The Blue Line Extension and the future Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT) will help Minneapolis residents and those from northwest and southwest communities get to work and school, delivering on our promise of equity," said Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh.According to the current plan, the 13-mile route would serve up to 11 new stations and the existing Target Field Station, extending through north Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale and Crystal to Brooklyn Park. Planners expect the primarily at-grade double-track line will have 27,000 average weekday riders by 2030. Revenue service is scheduled to begin in 2021, officials said.
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