Skip to main content

$2 billion Southwest Light Rail line gets green light from the federal government

Construction could start as soon as this winter.

The $2 billion Southwest Light Rail line took a major step to becoming a reality on Wednesday, as the federal government approved its funding of the transit project.

The Federal Transit Administration issued a "letter of no prejudice" for the project, which makes it eligible for federal funding covering $929 million of the total costs.

With the backing, the Metropolitan Council says that early construction work on what is expected to be a four-year project could start as soon as this winter.

"This news is long-awaited and hard-earned," said Governor Mark Dayton on Wednesday. 

"The Southwest Light Rail Transit project is a critical economic development project for the people of Minnesota. When complete, it will improve many thousands of lives from Eden Prairie to North Minneapolis. It will create new jobs, reduce highway congestion, and better connect Minnesotans to one another."

If you're not familiar with the project, or need a refresher, here's a look at the proposed route for the line.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 7.35.42 AM

It continues on from where the Green line ends at Target Field, cutting a path between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles, before making its way through St. Louis Park, Hopkins, eastern Minnetonka, and then ending in Eden Prairie.

There will be 16 stops on the 14.5 mile line, with 2,500 park and ride spaces positioned in 9 lots along the route.

.The intention is for construction work to start potentially in January or February, with heavy construction continuing until 2022, before trains start running in 2023.

Met Council chair Alene Tchourumoff says that federal approval received Wednesday means the council will on Thursday award a construction contract.

Hennepin County and the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority will also hold special meetings on Thursday, where members are expected to agree to provide $435 million of funding for the early construction activities.

The project is estimated to create 7,500 construction jobs over the course of the next few years.

Next Up

snow

Winter weather advisory issued as Saturday snow arrives

Not huge totals expected, but any snow will likely impact travel.

Wilf

Report: Ryan Poles is Vikings' 'top choice' for general manager

Poles was one of two finalists revealed on Friday.

Payton Willis

Willis carries shorthanded Gophers to beat Rutgers

The senior scored a career-high 32 points to end a four-game losing streak.

MARCUS ALEXANDER STEICHEN

Charges: St. Paul man had sexual contact 'multiple times' with 12-year-old girl

Marcus Steichen, 21, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Charges: Mom killed infant son just weeks after getting him back from foster care

The 10-month-old died in her care in Brooklyn Park last April.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Arrests made following fentanyl bust in St. Cloud

Authorities searched two St. Cloud apartments Friday morning.

potatoes 2

Minnesota's 'frozen potato freeway' closure attracts plenty of comment

It was, let's face it, a very Minnesotan reason for a freeway closure.

Screen Shot 2022-01-21 at 9.07.54 AM

U of M fraternity raises money for chef's knee surgery

The GoFundMe has raised around $1,700 of its $5,000 goal.

unsplash restaurant cashier register COVID face mask - crop

7 restaurant, bar groups sue Minneapolis over dining vaccine mandate

"Minneapolis bars and restaurants are being used as pawns..." the lawsuit said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 7.47.53 AM

Woman fatally shot in St. Paul's North End neighborhood

It's the fourth homicide so far this year in St. Paul.

Wild

Wild flip the script, dominate Blackhawks

Ryan Hartman scored twice to earn the first game of a back-to-back.

Hopkins Basketball

Hopkins suffers rare loss to No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends

The Royals held their own in a battle of the nation's best.

Related

light rail

Federal funding for Southwest Light Rail advances to Congress

The Metropolitan Council is hopeful Congress will award the nearly $929 million grant.

light rail

On track: Southwest Light Rail project gets final piece of funding

The $928.8 million funding grant will pay for the completion of the Green Line Light Rail Extension.

Southwest Light Rail

Southwest Light Rail opening date likely delayed due to 'poor soils'

Construction crews are having to make alternative plans in the disputed Kenilworth corridor.

Backers of light rail in southwest suburbs fear loss of federal money

Money for a light rail transit line connecting Minneapolis and its southwest suburbs was left out of the state-funded construction projects approved by the House. Backers of the line say federal funds for the project will be forfeited if the state fails to put up $25 million toward it.