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Minneapolis leaders to delay Southwest light-rail project


Metropolitan Council Chairwoman Sue Haigh is expected to recommend to the council's board today that the Southwest Light-Rail Transit (LRT) project be postponed.

Haigh's recommendation follows her meeting yesterday with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who after the meeting announced his support for delaying the project in order to consider alternatives to the council's controversial tunnel plan as part of the proposed co-location of freight- and light-rail tracks in the Kenilworth corridor. The council is overseeing the $1.5 billion Southwest LRT project.

Haigh and other state officials "had a productive meeting" with the governor regarding questions surrounding the tunnel proposal, she said in a prepared statement.

"I will propose to the council that we delay the project to allow us the time necessary to answer these questions," said Haigh. "The Southwest LRT project is one of the most important jobs and transit projects we have in the region. I believe that resolving these questions now is in the best interests of the project and the community, and will save us time in the long run."

The council had been expected to vote today on the approving the project. Planners had recommended building the tunnels as the preferred route for the corridor.

The overall project calls for extending the Metro Transit Green Line along a 15.8-mile route serving the suburban cities of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/16/2013