Column: It's time to move forward on Southwest line

Eden Prairie News

Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ask them their plan. You know, the folks who write the editorials and sign the letters. Ask them, after they stop Southwest Light Rail Transit, how they propose to address Twin Cities transportation needs.

Ask them how they intend to alter our road system to accommodate the 700,000 new residents who are expected in the region by 2040.

Ask them about their commitment to economic competitiveness, and their proposal to attract young workers who strongly desire transit options or to accommodate older residents who no longer wish to drive.

Ask them how they expect to link people with jobs, particularly in the job-rich southwest corridor of the metropolitan region.

And then ask them how they intend to pay for it and when construction will start.

The truth is, they don’t have a plan.

It certainly can’t be to build new roads. MnDOT is concentrating its limited dollars on maintaining what we have, leaving about $240 million to be spent over the next 20 years on “mobility fixes” in the Twin Cities metro.

Those dollars will permit them to add MnPass lanes on portions of Interstate 35W North and Interstate 94 and make some smaller spot improvements. After those projects are completed, they have no plans to expand road capacity in the metro area for the next two decades.

Enhanced bus service isn’t the answer. If it were, the Legislature wouldn’t be proposing budget reductions that are so severe that Metro Transit is anticipating service cuts of up to 40 percent.

(Service cuts, by the way, that will force more people to drive on our already crowded roads.)

In fact, bus service was studied as part of the Southwest LRT alternatives analysis and did not meet the criteria to be a viable option for the southwest corridor.

The only plan is the one being advanced by Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council. For more than 10 years, we have worked to develop Southwest LRT. Along with our partners at the Counties Transit Improvement Board, we have committed local resources to creating regional transportation alternatives.

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Source: Eden Prairie News


Posted In: Planning, Transportation


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