Dayton postpones vote on Southwest LRT to study alternatives


Gov. Mark Dayton has stepped in on the controversy surrounding the future route of the Southwest light rail line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie and called for a delay on a crucial vote while more alternatives are sought.

The Star Tribune reports the decision was announced after a meeting Tuesday at the governor's office with metro leaders and lawmakers.

The Metropolitan Council, the agency overseeing the $1.6 billion project, was expected to vote Wednesday on a plan that would send light rail trains through Minneapolis' Kennilworth Corridor in shallow tunnels alongside above-ground freight train traffic. Project construction would force the removal of thousands of trees and bike paths for as much as two years.

The option was rejected by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in an advisory panel vote last week.

Another plan would have rerouted the freight trains through St. Louis Park to make way for the new trains, which was strongly opposed by St. Louis Park residents.

Dayton told the Star Tribune that proceeding with the plan over the objections was impractical, considering each of the five cities along the route and the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners would need to approve the plan following the Metropolitan Council's vote.

The governor also pointed out that the light rail's prospects of advancing in the Legislature without approval from Minneapolis were "slim to none."

Over the next 2-3 months, the environmental impact of the shallow tunnel option and new route alternatives will be explored, according to Dayton.

KARE 11 reports the environmental study aims to reassure Minneapolis residents and city officials that water quality in Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles won't be affected by the construction in the Kenilworth corridor.

KSTP noted if a decision isn't made soon, the state is at risk of losing federal money earmarked for the project.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 5.14.36 PM

Mayor Carter announces COVID vaccine mandate for St. Paul city workers

It comes after Minneapolis announced the requirement for vaccines or regular testing for city workers in September.

two twelve medical center chaska GSV

Ridgeview cutting hours at 2 Minnesota urgent care locations

Hours of operation at a third location are also being shifted earlier.

Flickr - QFamily - Ben Jerrys

Latest to wade into Mpls. Question 2 debate is ... Ben & Jerry's?

The ice cream business said it supports the creation of a Department of Public Safety.

mickey moore driver's license shared

Mpls. candidate tries to 'set the record straight' about where he lives

Questions about Ward 9 candidate Mickey Moore's residency are quickly piling up.

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 1.49.16 PM

COVID-19 case rate drops in 51 of 87 Minnesota counties

Four of the 10 lowest case rates are metro-area counties.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

Allina mental health workers vote to unionize

Concerns over safety led the workers to unionize.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minnesota reports COVID deaths of teen student, 2 school staffers

Cases in schools rose again in the past week, though there are signs cases may have peaked.

Proctor football

Investigation of alleged misconduct on Proctor football team nears conclusion

The football team canceled its season and the coach subsequently resigned.

minnesota house of representatives

Minnesota House will continue hybrid operations, require masks in 2022

The Speaker of the House announced the plans in a memo to members and staff on Thursday.


Southwest LRT seeks development money to stay on track

The Southwest Corridor Light Rail is among a long list of projects eyeing part of $50 million in grant money. MPR reports the state Department of Employment and Economic Development is expected to decide which development projects will be awarded funds in the next few weeks. The 15-mile Southwest LRT route would run from downtown Minneapolis through the southwest suburbs.