The federal government has indicated it will likely pay close to half of the estimated two billion dollars to build the 15-mile Southwest Light Rail line between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. It’s expected the Metropolitan Council will award a 799-million-dollar construction bid today (Thurs) with preliminary work to begin this winter. Council officials hope Southwest Light Rail will begin service in 2023.
What’s believed to be the largest public works project in Minnesota history has not had an easy path. Residents along one section of the planned line sued in federal court to try to stop the project. There were disputes with two freight railroads that have tracks in the same corridor. Republicans at the legislature tried to block the project, arguing that bus rapid-transit is not only more cost-effective but also more flexible. But Governor Mark Dayton calls Southwest Light Rail “a critical economic development project for the people of Minnesota.”