Today, Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announce a tentative agreement regarding the plan to build the Southwest Light Rail Project from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. The tentative agreement, which includes two memoranda of understanding, was reached as a result of discussions mediated by retired federal judge The Honorable Arthur J. Boylan.
At the City’s request, one memorandum of understanding awaiting approval by both sides calls for the Metropolitan Council to: redesign the Minneapolis portion of the Southwest Light Rail Corridor to remove the light rail tunnel north of the water channel connecting Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles; add back the 21st Street Station; and add City-requested pedestrian-access, noise mitigation, landscape restoration and other improvements along the portion of the corridor in Minneapolis. If approved by both sides, the Met Council’s revised budget for Southwest light rail will be reduced by $30 million, from $1.683 billion to $1.653 billion, as a result of these changes to the preliminary design of the project.
Separately, the parties tentatively agreed to a second memorandum of understanding that commits the Met Council to work closely with the City and the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority to ensure that the Kenilworth freight corridor remains in public ownership, which the parties agree will decrease the chances that freight trains will increase in frequency or carry more dangerous cargo through the corridor.
Read the full joint announcement, including the Memoranda of Understanding.