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The cost to build the Minneapolis' Green Line light-rail extension has increased $19 million to nearly $1.9 billion, the Metropolitan Council announced yesterday.The council attributed the cost increase to "inaction by [Minnesota] House leadership to provide the remaining state share of funding."In their most recent legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers didn't provide the final $135 million for the extension, which is also known as the Southwest light-rail transit (SWLRT) project.The project's cost is slated to increase each week until the final piece of funding is secured, according to the Met Council.Half of the $19 million delay costs will be covered by a federal match, while local funding would provide the remainder, Met Council officials said."The cost of inaction is real, large, and one that falls on the taxpayers of this region," said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck in a press release. "We have been very clear that SWLRT needed to secure the remaining funding during the 2016 legislative schedule to stay on time, avoid delay costs and remain a strong project with the FTA. We negotiated in good faith with this deadline in mind. This project has wide and bipartisan support in every community it travels through."This week, the council is expected to approve the updated project scope, schedule and cost estimate. In addition, the council is expected to authorize staff to submit to the FTA the application that requests the start of engineering.That action would mark the final step in the federal process required for the council to finalize plans, issue construction bids and submit a full funding grant application the federal government. However, without remaining local funding, the project can't move forward, council officials said.
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