Met Council puts revised budget for Southwest Light Rail at $2.86 billion

Met Council says revised budget for Southwest Light Rail reaches $2.86 billion

Met Council says revised budget for Southwest Light Rail reaches $2.86 billion

The Southwest Light Rail Transit project is beginning to take shape, and we’re also getting an idea of how much the long-delayed and over-budget Green Line extension will cost.

During the Met Council’s Transportation Committee meeting on Monday, Southwest Light Rail project director Jim Alexander said the revised budget for the SWLRT extension is now $2.86 billion, which is much higher than the original budget of $2 billion in 2018.

“And so this is really a partial piece to get us to the end game, and we are currently — our estimate for the project is $2.86 billion,” Alexander said. “That $2.86 billion is something that we’ve identified and the feds are currently going over, and we have a pretty high degree of confidence that that is going to be our number.”

Hennepin County and the Met Council agreed in September to split the cost of a $340 million budget shortfall 55-45. At the time, project leaders for the SWLRT extension did not have a revised budget estimate and told Met Council members they would have a projection in January.

Alexander showed photos of the progress being made with about 10 miles of the 14.5-mile project being completed along with 11 of the 16 stations. Alexander also showed concrete has now been poured for the half-mile Kenilworth Tunnel in Minneapolis.

Met Council Member Reva Chamblis told Alexander she was impressed by the gains being made.

“Well, I am glad we are making progress and that the engineers and construction crew have been working very carefully in that really tight space,” Chamblis said.

Alexander closed his remarks with cautious optimism.

“I have a lot of scars on my back from this tunnel, specifically, and the project overall,” Alexander said.

The federal government is now reviewing the revised budget and will make a decision on its approval or rejection of the new numbers in April.