Updated: 04/02/2014 2:46 PM
Created: 04/02/2014 2:26 PM KSTP.com
By: Leslie Dyste
A controversial plan for the Southwest Light Rail route passed a key committee vote Wednesday. The Metropolitan Council will vote on the plan next week.
The plan calls for two shallow tunnels to be built between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. The tunnels would allow the train to run underneath current freight tracks, bike and pedestrian paths in the Kenilworth Corridor with a bridge built over the channel.
Wednesday, April 2
The Southwest Corridor Management Committee made up of mayors, city council members and Hennepin County commissioners voted to approve a plan that calls for two "shallow tunnels" through the Kenilworth bike trails area of Minneapolis near the Kenwood neighborhood, Cedar Lake, etc. There were two hours of public testimony before the vote. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges was one of two "no" votes.
Wednesday, April 9
The committee recommendation goes to the full Metropolitan Council. They will also take public testimony.
Thursday, April 10
If the plan passes the Met Council, LRT project staff will submit the plans to the five cities involved and Hennepin County for each of them to consider giving the project their "municipal consent."
Monday, June 30
By June 30 the project needs "municipal consent" from all five cities (Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Eden Prairie, Golden Valley and Hopkins) and Hennepin County or it could risk losing significant federal funding for the project.
The current estimated cost of the project is $1.68 billion.
Due to delays over the municipal consent issue, the SWLRT is now estimated to open in 2019 instead of 2018, assuming there are no additional delays.