Southwest Light-rail Gets Federal Approval

The following article by Janet Moore was published in the July 22, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.

Southwest Light-rail Gets Federal Approval

But planners still need $135 million for the project.

Backers of the proposed Southwest light-rail line were nearly giddy Thursday after announcing that the federal government had granted the controversial $1.84 billion project a green light that moves it closer to construction.

“We’re not breaking out the champagne yet, but this is still outstanding news,” said Adam Duininck, chairman of the Metropolitan Council, the builder and ultimate operator of the 14.5-mile line slated to link downtown Minneapolis with Eden Prairie.

The announcement, considered a key milestone in transit planning, was made at a Southwest Corridor Management Committee meeting, an advisory group.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) notified the Met Council last Friday that it had granted the project a “record of decision,” meaning environmental work has been completed on the line.

Such a decision is typically followed by the engineering phase, when bids are let for construction of track, stations and other infrastructure.

There’s still the not-so small matter of the missing $135 million in local funding — money that was supposed to come from state coffers.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune

Southwest LRT clears milestone but still faces funding shortage