The following article by Cali Owings was published in the April 27, 2015 issue of Finance & Commerce.
Test Results, Delays Increase Total Cost of Southwest LRT Project to $2 Billion
To continue reading, click on the link to the entire press release.
The following article by Eric Best was published April 27, 2015 in the Southwest Journal.
Price Tag of Southwest LRT Nears $2 Billion
The following article by Janet Moore and Paul Walsh was published in the April 28, 2015 issue of the StarTribune:
New $2B Price Tag Puts SW Light Rail at Risk
The Kennilworth Trail alongside a current freight train track that has been a proposed route for the Southwest Corridor light-rail line
The Southwest light-rail line, already the state’s largest transportation project, may be in peril now that its price tag has ballooned to close to $2 billion.
The escalating costs for the controversial 16-mile line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie provoked a “shocked and appalled” Gov. Mark Dayton to express “serious questions about its viability and affordability.” Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck did not rule out the possibility that the project could be scuttled.
To continue reading, click on the link to the complete StarTribune article.
The following gubnatorial statement regarding the Southwest Light Rail Transit Project was issued on April 27, 2015:
Statement from Governor Dayton Regarding Southwest Light Rail Transit Project
“I was shocked and appalled to learn last Friday that the staff at the Metropolitan Council had increased its estimate of the cost of the Southwest Line Rail Transit line by $341 million to $1.994 billion. I commend Chair Duinick for bringing this matter to my attention soon after learning of it from the project’s staff. We agreed last Friday afternoon that it needed to be disclosed quickly to the public.
“The continuing escalation of the costs to design and build this line raise serious questions about its viability and affordability. The full Board of the Metropolitan Council should quickly review other options for providing much-needed public transit to this region of the metro area. Their costs, timelines, and quality of service need to be compared with those of the SWLRT before deciding how to proceed. All of them must also be compared with the direct and indirect costs of providing no major public transit system for that rapidly growing part of the metro region.
“The Board must also make a thorough evaluation of the capabilities and competencies of the Metropolitan Council staff to manage a project of this magnitude. I certainly will not recommend that any additional public money be committed to the project until I am satisfied that its cost can be justified and properly managed.
“I also want to express my complete confidence in the Board of the Metropolitan Council, which I have just appointed, and, especially, in its new Chair, Adam Duinick. This incident should certainly eliminate any doubt of the need for a full-time Board Chair to exercise proper leadership for the organization and oversight over its operations. I ask the Senate to confirm his appointment and the entire legislature to give him the chance to identify and correct the organization’s deficiencies.
“Finally, I again urge both the House and the Senate to pass a strong transportation bill that I can sign into law in this Session. In addition to a decade of additional funding for highway, road, and bridge repairs and improvements and for rail safety, it must provide additional funds for public transit in both Greater Minnesota and the Metropolitan Area. Whether the Southwest Light Rail Transit line or some alternative for the southwest metro, modern and sufficient public transit throughout the metropolitan region will be essential to its continued social vitality and economic growth.”
The following article by Peter Callaghan was published in the April 27, 2015 issue of MinnPost:
Southwest LRT Price Tag Jumps to $2 Billion
Gov. Mark Dayton: “The continuing escalation of the costs to design and build this line raise serious questions about its viability and affordability.”
The increase in the estimate to complete the 16-mile extension is being blamed on more-detailed engineering, which found poor ground conditions along the route and soil contamination in St. Louis Park and Hopkins. The price increase, coming even before next month’s expected release of a draft environmental impact statement that could result in other cost hikes, threatens the project.
Gov. Mark Dayton said he was “shocked and appalled” at the new estimated costs.
To continue reading, click on the link to the complete MinnPost article.
Heads-Up for the April 15, 2015 Park Board Meeting
5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers can call 612-230-6400 before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting to sign up or they can sign up at the Board meeting prior to the start of “Open Time”
6:30 P.M. PUBLIC HEARINGS
–Windom Northeast Park Playground Improvements
–Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Listed below are some agenda items of interest:
–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving the Concept Plan for Playground Improvements at Windom Northeast Park in Northeast Minneapolis
–Accepting the Recommendations from the Appointed Community Advisory Committee and Approving the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Reconstruction and Cowles Conservatory Renovation Concept
–Approving a Cooperative Agreement with Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for Collaborative Concept Planning of Improvements to Meadowbrook Golf Course and the Stream Corridor through the Course
–Community Engagement Plan for Powderhorn Park Wading Pool and Playground Improvements
View Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board meetings live from 5-9 p.m. on the Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast Cable. You may also view live meetings online on the Channel 79 webpage: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/tv/79
Regular meetings are typically re-telecast on Channel 79 on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 5 p.m. Telecast schedules are subject to change.
The Park Board’s website is www.minneapolisparks.org The phone number is 612-230-6400.
Co-founder of Park Watch
The following article by Brian Johnson was published in the March 31, 2015 issue of Finance and Commerce.
Minneapolis seeks owner’s rep for Downtown East Commons
Minnetonka Residents filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in an effort to keep the Southwest light rail transit project from destroying a wooded public park and trail.
In their lawsuit, the Opus Woods Conservation Association and the owners of the 330-unit Claremont Apartments said the Metropolitan Council did not adequately consider the rail route’s impact on the 49-acre Opus Hill area.
The following letter dated March 30, 2015 regarding Crown Hydro is from Doug Verdier.