The following article by Janice Bitters was published in the August 30, 2016 issue of Finance and Commerce.
Hennepin County Approves More Southwest LRT Funding
The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority agreed Tuesday to provide an additional $20.5 million for the Southwest light rail transit line between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie, bringing the agency’s share to $185.5 million, or 10 percent of the line’s costs.
The 6-1 decision was the first of three votes within two days by local planning and transit agencies on funding the project needs to continue moving forward.
The Hennepin County vote sets the stage for a discussion next month on gradually increasing property taxes to cover the additional Southwest light rail costs, Peter McLaughlin, the Regional Railroad Authority chair, said Tuesday.
Planners are also asking the Metropolitan Council and the Counties Transit Improvement Board to help cover a $144.5 million gap left behind after the state Legislature couldn’t agree to fund the line last session.
Met Council officials want an answer from each agency before August ends to avoid delays and cost increases on the $1.858 billion project, Met Council Chair Adam Duininck told the Hennepin County board Tuesday.
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