White House support affirms the status of Southwest LRT Project

Date: Monday, October 1, 2012

We are very pleased about today’s announcement and the continuing momentum in support of the Southwest LRT project!

As part of his "We Can't Wait" initiative, President Obama announced October 1 that the Southwest Light Rail Project is one of two nationally and regionally significant transit projects that will be expedited to put Americans to work building a 21st century infrastructure and providing Minnesota and Ohio with more transportation choices. See the full White House press release.

The announcement affirms the status of the Southwest LRT Project as a high-ranking and viable project, and the work we are doing with all the involved and committed partners to create a 21st century transit system.

It is very rewarding and encouraging that the project has the support at the very highest levels, including  the White House, the Federal Transit Administration and the governor’s office, which recently approved $2 million in DEED grants for projects that will create jobs, not to mention the Counties Transit Improvement Board, Hennepin County and the local units of government along the corridor.

Southwest is the most job-rich corridor in the State. Southwest LRT will not only create engineering, construction and operations jobs, but it will serve the 270,000 jobs we expect will be located along the corridor by 2030.

The construction phase alone will generate over 3,500 construction jobs and ultimately 175 permanent jobs to operate and maintain the LRT line. The Southwest LRT project will also generate numerous private residential and commercial investments.

The announcement is especially timely because the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is set to be released Oct. 12 formally kicking off the public comment period, and proposals are to be received October 2 for preliminary engineering for the project.

This is an exciting time and opportunity for the Twin Cities region and the state of Minnesota as we continue to invest in our vitality.

Susan Haigh

Chair, Metropolitan Council

Excerpt from the Oct. 1 White House press release:

"The Southwest Light Rail Transitway (LRT) Project will greatly improve access to major employment centers and all area attractions for residents and commuters in greater Minneapolis by building new light rail service running between downtown Minneapolis and the southwestern suburbs out to Eden Prairie. The project, funded in part by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), adds over 15 miles of new track as well as several new stations and park-and-ride lots. The LRT line would improve accessibility and mobility by enhancing transit travel speeds.  The LRT line would link several major activity centers, including Target Field on the corridor’s eastern end and the Eden Prairie Center Mall on the corridor’s western end.  Also, because the project would share track with the Central Corridor LRT line, it would provide a one-seat ride from Minneapolis’ southwestern suburbs via downtown Minneapolis to the State Capitol complex and downtown St. Paul."

See the full press release.

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