Messages from the Council Chair

Southwest LRT vote delayed for additional study

October 2013
At my direction, the Metropolitan Council delayed its scheduled Oct. 16 vote on the final scope and budget of the Southwest light rail project for 60 to 90 days while we do some additional study on issues of concern to Minneapolis.

Council Chair Susan HaighI did this in response to a meeting I participated in with Governor Dayton, House Speaker Paul Thissen, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and others who asked that the Council work with Minneapolis to develop additional responses to three technical issue areas.

All who attended this meeting agreed that Southwest LRT is an important transit investment project for our state and region, and we should continue our work to advance the project.

Specifically, I’ve instructed project staff to develop additional responses to the issues in the Kenilworth Corridor of Minneapolis by:
  1. Engaging an independent engineering consultant to conduct a review of existing and potential freight rail relocation alternatives;
  2. Conducting further review of the hydrology and water resources including development of a water monitoring plan; and
  3. Convening agency and community representatives to develop a landscaping and greenscaping plan for post construction.
We hope that this delay of 60 to 90 days will save time in the long run, allowing the project to move quickly through the municipal consent process once these studies conclude and the Council gives its consent to initiate the process.

We have and will continue to work diligently to ensure this project is successful. Throughout our involvement, we’ve engaged thousands of people and the project is stronger because of this public engagement process.

In the coming months, we’ll continue to work to engage and educate policymakers, both those who currently sit on city councils along the route and those who will be elected for the first time in just a few weeks.

From the start, I’ve been focused on ensuring that we build a line that can stand the test of time. I believe the conclusion of these additional studies and our continued efforts to educate and engage both policymakers and the public will provide a clear path for this project to receive the local approvals it needs to be built, and built to last.