Southwest Light Rail Project Full Funding Grant Agreement moving forward with Congressional notification

Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Metropolitan Council along with Hennepin County and the cities of Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Minneapolis are proud to announce the Trump Administration has advanced the Southwest LRT Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) to move forward with Congressional notification. The FFGA will free up $928.8 million in federal funds to cover nearly half the cost of Southwest LRT implementation. The $2.003 billion project will be the largest infrastructure project in the state’s history, creating nearly 7,500 jobs with a nearly $350 million payroll.

“This is incredible news for the Twin Cities and state of Minnesota,” said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. “The Southwest Light Rail Project will be transformative for so many communities when complete and encapsulates the idea of a One Minnesota. I would like to thank President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Acting Federal Transit Administrator K. Jane Williams for recognizing the importance of Southwest LRT and I eagerly await the signing of the FFGA.”

Following today’s signal of intent by the Trump Administration, the Full Funding Grant Agreement now heads to Congress for a 30-day notification. Following the Congressional notification, we are hopeful an FFGA will be awarded.

“Today’s announcement marks the culmination of decades of hard work by project staff, elected officials, corridor cities, and community advocates who all worked tirelessly to bring this essential project to fruition,” said Hennepin County Commissioner and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority Chair Jan Callison. “This is a critical leg of our planned light rail network that will work alongside our roads, bridges, bikeways and walkways to carry our region into the future and prepare us for long-term growth and success. Now that the President’s administration has taken this step, I am confident members of Congress will also see the incredible value this project provides for the communities it will serve, the Twin Cities region, and the State of Minnesota.”

Construction on the project began in November 2018 and has been progressing steadily since. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), granted the project four Letters of No Prejudice, which allowed local money to be spent and construction to advance.

“When I was appointed Met Council Chair, Governor Walz charged me to work with the Trump Administration to ensure Southwest LRT receives its Full Funding Grant Agreement. I am grateful for the strong collaboration with FTA, their recognition of the project’s benefits and notifying Congress,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “I believe in transit and I believe in Southwest LRT and all the benefits it will bring to not only the Metro but for the State of Minnesota. We have already seen the private sector investment along the alignment, and we have heard from the community, which shares our enthusiasm for this project. I have no doubt members of Congress will also see these benefits.”

“A successful transportation system is a bedrock that keeps our economy growing and creates opportunities for our residents, businesses, and communities,” said Hennepin County Commissioner and Board Chair Marion Greene. “This line will connect workers to hundreds of thousands of jobs in one of the fastest growing parts of the Twin Cities. Like our region’s existing LRT corridors, this route is already attracting people and investment. I’m sure our congressional partners will share our enthusiasm for this historic investment in our region.”

Southwest LRT is a 14.5-mile line with 16 stations serving Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, nearby Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. In 2014, there were approximately 64,300 jobs within a half mile of the proposed stations and 126,800 jobs in downtown Minneapolis. By 2035, employment is expected to grow to 80,900 within a half mile of the proposed stations and 145,300 in downtown Minneapolis — an 18 percent increase in employment. The population along the line outside of downtown Minneapolis is expected to grow by 56 percent from 2014 to 2035.

Posted In: Transportation

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