SWLRT Advisory Committee recommends ending at SouthWest Station

Date: Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Make SouthWest Station the westernmost stop on the Southwest LRT line, defer Town Center Station, and eliminate Mitchell Road Station for a new project cost estimate of $1.744 billion, a reduction of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, project partners advised on July 1.

The Corridor Management Committee’s recommendation to the Metropolitan Council preserves a majority of project elements and a projected average weekday ridership of 34,000 in 2040, resulting in a cost-effective and federally competitive project that retains the benefits of the original project.  See the committee’s resolution (PDF).

Saying they view the project as a shared investment, committee members said they would make their best efforts to obtain commitments from their respective jurisdictions for funding the local share of costs above the previously approved cost estimate of $1.653 billion. They agreed to do this by July 31, consistent with federal and state obligations.

“I hope this sends a strong message to the public and to the Legislature that we’re really serious about this project. It’s important to the region, and we need to fund transit not just for this project, but system wide for expanding and enhancing the transit system here in the Twin Cities,” Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck said.

To help cover the increase from the previously approved $1.653 billion cost estimate to the new recommended $1.744 billion estimate, Hennepin County leaders announced they will consider a funding package worth about $38 million. Of that amount, $30 million would be a contribution of land, which is already part of the project. It is expected to leverage an additional $30 million in Federal Transit Administration contributions.

The Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and St. Louis Park members of the Corridor Management Committee agreed to seek other sources to close the funding gap.

Metropolitan Council will meet July 8 to vote on the revised project scope and budget.

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