Monthly Archives: April 2015

Dayton ‘Shocked’ at LRT’s $2B Cost

The following article by Cali Owings was published in the April 27, 2015 issue of Finance & Commerce.

Dayton ‘Shocked’ at LRT’s $2B Cost

In response to the rising costs, Gov. Mark Dayton prompted the Met Council to explore other options for providing transit to the southwest metro.

The new cost estimate is a result of more detailed engineering and environmental tests, as well as a delayed environmental review which pushes the anticipated project completion date from 2019 to 2020.

In a statement Monday, Met Council Chair Adam Duininck said the cost increase presents a “significant problem” for the project partners and taxpayers and that “all options are on the table.”

To continue reading, click on the link to the complete Finance & Commerce article.

http://finance-commerce.com/2015/04/southwest-lrt-price-tag-now-estimated-at-2-billion/

Test Results, Delays Increase Total Cost of Southwest LRT Project to $2 Billion

The Met Council issued the following press release on April 27, 2015.

 

Test Results, Delays Increase Total Cost of Southwest LRT Project to $2 Billion

Analysis released today by the Metropolitan Council (Council) concludes that test results and project delays have increased the cost of the Southwest LRT Project to $1.994 billion – a $341 million increase. The additional costs are primarily related to poor ground conditions along the Southwest LRT line and soil contamination in St. Louis Park and Hopkins. The Council analysis also determined that the Southwest LRT Project would not open until 2020, instead of late 2019.

To continue reading, click on the link to the entire press release.

Council announced

Price Tag of Southwest LRT Nears $2 Billion

The following article by Eric Best was published April 27, 2015 in the Southwest Journal.

Price Tag of Southwest LRT Nears $2 Billion

Photo by Eric Best
The Metropolitan Council announced Monday that the cost of the Southwest LRT Project is now nearly $2 billion thanks to recent test results and project delays.The now $1.994 billion price tag includes a roughly 20 percent increase of $341 million due to poor ground conditions and soil contamination.  The council also pushed the project opening back one year to 2020, after engineering and environmental studies conducted between last December and this spring.
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New $2B Price Tag Puts SW Light Rail at Risk

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

Photo by Renee Jones Schneider

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.

http://www.startribune.com/local/west/301418451.html

Statement from Governor Dayton Regarding Southwest Light Rail Transit Project

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.”

Southwest LRT Price Tag Jumps to $2 Billion

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.”

Southwest LRT price tag jumps to $2 billion
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley

What was once a $1.66 billion price tag to extend light rail from Target Field Station to Eden Prairie is now a nearly $2 billion price tag.

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

Heads-Up for the April 15, 2015 Park Board Meeting


5:00 P.M.  REGULAR BOARD MEETING. The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.  Visitors to Park Board meetings can find at the back of the meeting room the agenda book with all the printed materials for the 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

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on April 15, 2015 is at http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx .  Board meeting agendas and related information are posted on this web page two business days prior to meetings. Webcasts of MPRB regular board meetings are posted on the same web page two to five business days following each meeting and are available for viewing, along with webcasts for the previous two months.

Also of interest and now available to the commissioners and the public are the monthly reports that Superintendent Miller has initiated for construction permits and for Planning Department projects. The availability of these reports is one of the important changes instituted by Superintendent Miller. They are normally in the agenda packet for the first regular meeting of the month.

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.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch
www.mplsparkwatch.org

Minneapolis seeks owner’s rep for Downtown East Commons

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
The Downtown East Commons will rise on the site of the former Star Tribune building (at right) at 425 Portland Ave. S. in Minneapolis. The two Wells Fargo office towers (at left) and the Vikings stadium (far right) are under construction. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Minneapolis seeks owner’s rep for Downtown East Commons

 
The city of Minneapolis has put out a request for an owner’s representative for the Downtown East Commons park, as seen in this preliminary rendering from Ryan Cos. US Inc. (Submitted rendering)

The city of Minneapolis has put out a request for an owner’s representative for the Downtown East Commons park, as seen in this preliminary rendering from Ryan Cos. US Inc. (Submitted rendering)

The city of Minneapolis is looking for an owner’s representative for the public park that will be created within the $420 million Downtown East mixed-used project in downtown Minneapolis.
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NEW SWLRT LAWSUIT: Minnetonka Residents, Apartment Complex Owners Sue Over Southwest Light Rail

The following article by Jim Hammerand was published in the March 31, 2015 issue of The
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal.




NEW SWLRT LAWSUIT: Minnetonka Residents, Apartment Complex Owners Sue Over Southwest Light Rail

light rail metro transit

Enlarge Photo

The Southwest light rail will be the third such Metro Transit route. PIctured is the network’s Blue Line, connecting Minneapolis to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America.

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.

 

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Crown Hydro Preparing to Submit License Amendment to FERC

The following letter dated March 30, 2015 regarding Crown Hydro is from Doug Verdier.

Cover for Draft License Amendment Application (D0216453x8DF41) Crown Hydro Preparing to Submit License Amendment to FERC

Crown Hydro has recently sent a letter to resource agencies stating their intention to submit required documentation to FERC for an amendment to their license. The cover letter to that draft amendment is attached. Crown is required to submit their amendment by April 30, 2015.
I have omitted the actual amendment document due to its length (64 pages). If you would like to receive it, let me know. (dougv22000@gmail.com)
Important comment and response information in the cover letter from Crown is as follows:
Because Crown Hydro is scheduled to submit the final license amendment
application to FERC on April 30, 2015, Crown Hydo requests that any comments received on the
draft license amendment application be received by Monday, April 20, 2015. Please contact us
at (202) 467-6370 or Mr. Joel Toso (contact information below) with any questions you may
have.
Joel Toso
Wenck Associates
1800 Pioneer Creek Center
Maple Plain, MN 55359
(763) 479-4231