Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Key approvals: Southwest light rail plan lurches forward

Author:

The plan to bring light rail service to the southwest metro remained on track Wednesday when four cities on the route begrudgingly approved a deal Minneapolis struck with the Metropolitan Council.

An advisory panel that includes officials from Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Minnetonka voted to approve the new deal, which allows Minneapolis to collect as much as $30 million in special improvements to its portion of the line.

Several leaders from the other cities expressed jealousy over the deal Minneapolis reached, but they agreed to approve it anyway, MPR News reports.

If the other cities want special improvements, they would have to compete for contingency money if any is left over.

If there is no money left over, “does that mean that we ... get nothing and Minneapolis gets $30 million?” Eden Prairie Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens asked, the Star Tribune reported.

The approvals were a key part of keeping the Southwest Light Rail plan moving forward as the five cities on the route continue to hammer out the project details. The action set up a final vote by the Minneapolis City Council on Aug. 29, although that could be delayed until September, the Star Tribune notes.

The controversial $1.6 billion, nearly 16-mile route would connect Minneapolis and Eden Prairie and be the most expensive transit project in Minnesota history.

The new deal reached this week between the Met Council, which is managing the project, and Minneapolis, changes a controversial plan to bury the light rail in two shallow tunnels between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles. The deal would eliminate one tunnel and run it at ground level.

The tunnels plan had been proposed after Minneapolis lost a battle to reroute freight traffic from the Kenilworth corridor to St. Louis Park. Kenilworth residents object to having the light rail and freight trains run side-by-side through their backyards between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles.

Eliminating the tunnel would save $30 million, but the deal Minneapolis negotiated would commit the savings to improvements, including creating pedestrian and bike accesses to Minneapolis stations and improving a "parklike environment" of the corridor, the Star Tribune notes.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

2nd period surge leads Wild to fourth straight win

With three goals in the second, the Wild blasted the last-place Coyotes.

Gopher Basketball / R.J. Stephens

Late-tip in helps Gophers pass first big test, improve to 6-0

Luke Loewe's bucket with 2.4 seconds remaining helped the Gophers stay undefeated.

ambulance

Man, 40, found dead stuck in air duct at his Otter Tail Co. home

The discovery was made by family members Monday morning.

Biden Minnesota visit stream screengrab - 11.30.31

What Biden said during his visit to Minnesota Tuesday

The president spoke at Dakota County Technical College.

Grand Marais

Cook County registers its first COVID-19 death of the pandemic

The sparsely populated, highly-vaccinated county has continuously had one of the lowest rates of COVID in the state.

Waits family screengrab CNN

Support for MN family after anti-maskers target child of school board chair

An online group opposing Kelsey Waits outed the child as transgender.

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

Fardoussa Abdillahi

Charges: St. Cloud mother killed baby, placed him in dumpster

The 4-month-old baby was found by officers on Sunday morning.

ambulance

1 dead in crash at Lake Street intersection in south Minneapolis

There have been 465 deaths on Minnesota roads this year, according to the state's traffic division.

robbery

St. Paul restaurateur's businesses burglarized a 6th time

The owner of The Gnome and Hope Breakfast Bar is asking politicians to help St. Paul business owners.

North Memorial Air Care

Teen suffers life-threatening injuries in head-on crash in southern MN

The 18-year-old was airlifted to a Mayo Clinic hospital in Rochester.

foo fighters grohl mr rossi wikimedia

Foo Fighters abruptly cancel Gophers stadium show hours after announcing it

The band is looking for a new venue because of a disagreement over COVID protocols.

Related