Updated: 04/09/2014 11:09 PM
Created: 04/09/2014 9:12 AM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart
The back-and-forth over the future of the Southwest Light Rail Transit line came to a head Wednesday.
The Met Council voted to approve the project’s scope and budget Wednesday afternoon on a 14-2 vote.
The Council’s approval set the project’s scope to include 16 stations; an operations and maintenance facility in Hopkins; a westernmost station at Mitchell Road in Eden Prairie and LRT running in shallow tunnels and freight rail and trails remaining at-grade through the Kenilworth corridor. The Council also approved a project budget between $1.673 billion and $1.683 billion.
The beginning of the municipal consent process signifies the conclusion of two and half years of close work between the Council, Hennepin County and the five cities along the line. The next 75 days will give local policymakers a chance to discuss and debate this regional investment and what it will mean to their community. The Council’s approval today not only moves the Southwest LRT Project forward, it ensures the further expansion of our regional transit system in other corridors,” Council Chair Sue Haigh said.
During the meeting, the council opened up the floor to people concerned about the line, which will run through the Kenilworth Corridor connecting Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.
The council also heard a brief presentation from project staff members before voting. Metro Transit Deputy General Manager Mark Fuhrmann and Southwest LRT Director of Design and Engineering Jim Alexander also made a presentation.
All the cities involved and Hennepin County will still need to sign off on the project. Minneapolis has been opposed to the plan.