Statement on the completion of the Southwest LRT municipal consent process

Date: Friday, August 29, 2014

Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh issued the following statement on the conclusion of the Southwest LRT municipal consent process. Today’s Minneapolis City Council vote granting the project municipal consent allows the Metropolitan Council to seek approval from the federal government to enter Final Engineering. Hennepin County and the Cities of Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and St. Louis Park and all provided municipal consent to the project prior to today.

“The Southwest light rail line, which will serve one of the most jobs-rich corridors in the state, will be a key addition to our regional economy when it opens,” said Council Chair Susan Haigh. “The corridor is currently home to more than 210,000 jobs, and projected to grow by another 60,000 jobs by 2030. This line will be a smart, cost-effective addition to our 21st century transit system. It will efficiently and quickly move people to and from work, home and school along what is today a very congested corridor, in addition to connecting people to St. Paul and Bloomington via our existing light rail lines.

“The Southwest light rail line is an equitable transit investment that when coupled with planned bus service improvements, will enhance the ability of corridor residents including low-income, transit-dependent and minority communities to access good jobs, education and community amenities. Equity, including bus, bicycle and pedestrian connections to the line, is at the forefront of our efforts to expand and improve the transit system. We are committed to having an ongoing conversation with the community as the Southwest light rail project continues through the phases of engineering and construction.

“I’d like to thank the communities along the line for their continued interest and participation and for providing municipal consent to move this project forward. This project brought people from around the region together. We look forward to a continued partnership as we advance this project through the federal process and work to secure additional funding for major transit investments, including Southwest, during the 2015 legislative session,” concluded Chair Haigh.

See a copy of a letter Chair Haigh sent to Governor Dayton following today's vote (PDF)

About the project

The Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project (Green Line Extension) will operate from downtown Minneapolis through the communities of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie, passing in close proximity to the city of Edina. The proposed alignment is primarily at-grade and includes 17 new stations and about 15.8-miles of double track.

The line will connect major activity centers in the region including downtown Minneapolis, the Opus/Golden Triangle employment area in Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, the Eden Prairie Center Mall, and the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. Ridership in 2030 is projected at 29,660 weekday passengers. The project will interline with the METRO Green Line (Central Corridor LRT), which will provide a one-seat ride to destinations such as the University of Minnesota, state Capitol and downtown St. Paul. It will be part of an integrated system of transitways, including connections to the METRO Blue Line, the Northstar Commuter Rail line, a variety of major bus routes along the alignment, and proposed future transitway and rail lines.

The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Southwest Corridor Management Committee, which includes commissioners from Hennepin County and the mayors of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie, provides advice and oversight. Funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration, Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), state of Minnesota and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA).

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