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Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County executives tomorrow will host federal, state and local officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Southwest light-rail project in Hopkins, Minnesota.The event will be held at the site of the future Southwest light-rail support facility in Hopkins. Invited guests include U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Hopkins Mayor Molly Cummings, while the hosts include Metropolitan Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff and Hennepin County Chair Jan Callison.An extension of Metro Transit’s Green Line service, the $2 billion Southwest light-rail line will be Minnesota's largest infrastructure project. The 14.5-mile route will run from downtown Minneapolis through St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. The line will share a 7.8-mile corridor with the Twin Cities & Western Railroad Co. and BNSF Railway Co. Heavy construction work is expected to start next year and wrap up in 2022, with light-rail vehicle testing to follow in 2022 or 2023.Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Council awarded a nearly $800 million construction contract to a Lunda Construction Co./C.S. McCrossan joint venture. The council was able to award the contract after receiving a letter of no prejudice from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).The FTA’s finding makes the project eligible for federal reimbursement through the award of a Full Funding Grant Agreement, which is expected in spring 2019. The federal government is expected to provide $929 million for the project, with local dollars covering the remaining costs.
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