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Minneapolis City Council Votes to Approve SWLRT Project

Updated: 08/29/2014 6:15 PM
Created: 08/29/2014 6:55 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson

The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to approve the $1.6 billion Southwest Light Rail Transit line.

KSTP Reporter Josh Rosenthal reports the municipal consent vote passed 10-3, with Council Members Lisa Goodman, Cam Gordon and Barbara Johnson dissenting.

Although the vote passed, there could still be some challenges ahead.

A neighborhood group is accusing the Met Council of breaking the law by failing to complete an in-depth environmental review before moving the project forward. The Met Council and federal government say the study will be done next year.

Earlier this week, the city voted on a few conditions, such as protecting public land ownership. Railroads generally have unprecedented authority to make changes as needed as a project moves along, but the Minneapolis City Council voted to secure communication with the Metropolitan Council in an effort to ensure there are no surprises after construction starts.

Wednesday's unanimous vote is supposed to give better protection over the preservation of parks and trails in the Kenilworth corridor. Changes could still come up, even once the deal is struck and construction is underway. However, with this vote, the city of Minneapolis should at least know about changes before they happen. The council will now be able to hold meetings and, perhaps, even be able to sway the rail line to serve the public's best interests along the way.

Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Hennepin County have all approved moving forward with the project.

See the city council agenda here.

Learn more about the Southwest Light Rail Transit line here.


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