St. Paul, Minn. – March 4, 2016 – The METRO Blue Line Extension LRT Project is one step closer to becoming a reality after gaining approval for municipal consent. Robbinsdale was the fifth and final city, in addition to Hennepin County, to take action, voting unanimously Wednesday night in favor of the 13-mile line. The 45-day municipal consent period ended today.
“Successfully gaining municipal consent speaks to the strength of this project,” said Adam Duininck, Met Council Chair. “We have had strong partners in the cities, the county, and the businesses all along the line. Whether it was the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley, local businesses in each of the cities, or Fortune 500 companies like Target, their support has been key to building out a system that connects people with jobs. A robust, regional transit system stimulates job growth and investment in new businesses.”
The Blue Line Extension Project – often called the Bottineau LRT – will expand the existing Blue Line from Target Field in downtown Minneapolis into the northwest suburbs through Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park.
When completed, the line will offer a one-seat ride from the Target Northern Campus in Brooklyn Park to the Mall of America in Bloomington, with stops throughout Minneapolis and at the MSP International Airport. Passengers will also be able to transfer to the existing Green Line, to access the University of Minnesota, destinations along University Avenue or Downtown St. Paul as well as to the job-dense Southwest Corridor on the planned Green Line Extension.
“We value being a major employer and partner to the Brooklyn Park community,” said John Mulligan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Target. “We have a vested interest in helping to ensure it is growing and evolving to meet the needs of our team members and guests. The Bottineau LRT line will bring an affordable and convenient transportation option to the Northwest suburbs as well as faster public transit connections to destinations like downtown Minneapolis and MSP airport, benefits supported by the communities along the route.”
“The Blue Line Extension LRT will provide a critical access point for our students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Barbara McDonald, President of North Hennepin Community College. “We are delighted to hear that the project has received municipal consent and look forward to the services it will provide our community.”
At the McDonald’s in Brooklyn Park on West Broadway, Yasmin Hyder is looking forward to the benefits of having a Blue Line light rail station just steps away.
The Hyder family owns 11 McDonald’s total, including four in Brooklyn Park. Another Hyder-owned McDonald’s in Crystal is located a quarter-mile from the planned Bass Lake Road station.
With about 40-50 employees in each store, the improved transit option “would mean now we can expand our hiring and make it easier for employees to travel where they live and go to school,” Hyder said. “In other locations, light rail is such a good source of transportation, easy and reliable.”
Municipal consent is required by Minnesota state law, including a system’s physical design components such as tracks, bridges, stations, roads and support structures. The Met Council approved the project’s scope and $1.496 billion cost estimate in December.
In August 2016, staff will finalize the 30 percent design plans and specifications and apply with the Federal Transit Administration to enter the Engineering phase of the project. Heavy construction is set to occur in 2018-2020, with passenger service beginning in 2021.