The following article by Eric Roper was published in the August 20, 2014 edition of the StarTribune.
SOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL EDGES CLOSER TO FINAL APPROVAL
Advocates call for more bus improvements since the line will skirt population centers.
Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune
“For this system to work for Minneapolis residents and not just for suburban commuters, we need safe, dignified and efficient transit connections,” said Council Member Lisa Bender
Minneapolis leaders intensified demands for improved bus connections with the proposed Southwest light rail line Tuesday, seeking to ensure that the line benefits areas beyond the sparsely populated freight corridor it will follow into downtown.
A standing-room-only crowd packed into City Hall Tuesday night at a public hearing in preparation for a City Council vote later in August, the last local approval needed for the project. The Hennepin County Board approved the Minneapolis portion of the project hours before the city public hearing. The $1.6 billion plan would create a new light rail line from Eden Prairie to downtown, with five new stops in Minneapolis.