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The Southwest light-rail project has reached local funding commitments for 85 percent of the cost required to seek the federal 50 percent match to build the $1.65 billion line, also known as Metro Transit's Green Line extension, according to a Metropolitan Council newsletter.The project now is well positioned to seek the federal funding match in 2016, council officials said. Earlier this fall, the Counties Transit Improvement Board and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority approved their full commitments of $496 million (30 percent) and $165 million (10 percent), respectively. The state has committed $44 million of its $165 million (10 percent) share.With $705 million in local funding committed, the project is at a level of more than the 70 percent that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires before approving projects to enter into the engineering phase. Local officials expect to receive FTA approval in 2015 to enter into engineering and a Full Funding Grant Agreement in 2016 for $827 million (50 percent) in matching funds, the newsletter states."The commitments show that our local funding partners recognize the project’s strength following resolution of some big issues through the municipal consent process. The actions by the transit board and regional railroad authority are an important seal of approval that the FTA wanted to see," said Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh.