Skip to main content

Met Council OKs $250M in cuts to save Southwest light rail line

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Metropolitan Council has voted to approve a new plan for the proposed Southwest light rail line from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, which includes the elimination of one stop, to trim $250 million and rescue the project.

The council voted 15-1 in favor of the new plan at its Wednesday meeting, according to a news release from the agency.

The biggest item on the list is the elimination of the westernmost station at Mitchell Road in Eden Prairie.

Instead, the rail line would end at the Southwest station, which is already a transit hub for commuters in the southwestern suburb.

Other changes include delaying construction of another station at the Eden Prairie Mall, cutting back on the size of park and ride lots, and trimming spending on landscaping and public art.

All of the stations in Minneapolis remain in the final plan; however, the $12 million Cedar Lake bike trail crossing in the city was cut. (A complete list of all the cuts is here.)

The project originally had a price tag of $1.65 billion. But it jumped to $1.994 billion following additional engineering and environmental studies that found poor ground conditions and soil contamination along the route. The higher costs threatened to doom the project altogether.

The Met Council and the communities along the line recently agreed on this package of cuts to bring the cost down to $1.74 billion.

But that's still $90 million more than the original price tag, so the local governments involved all pledged additional local funding to bridge the gap and help attract more federal funding.

Since the scope of the project has been significantly changed, it will need to be approved again by all the municipalities involved. The Met Council said that process would get underway in the next few weeks.

One big piece of funding is still in question: the state had earlier agreed to chip in about $165 million. But the state Legislature has not yet appropriated that money, and Republican leaders have said they are not in favor of the project.

The modified route will be 14.4 miles long, about a mile and a half shorter than the original, and will have 15 stops instead of the original 17.

The light rail line is scheduled to open in 2020, and officials predict weekday ridership will reach 34,000 by 2040.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.


Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Jury: MN pharmacist did not violate woman's rights by refusing her morning-after pill

Gender Justice, the advocacy group that brought about the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.