Dayton Supports Delay Of SW LRT Decision
The Southwest Corridor light-rail project hit yet another speed bump Tuesday as Governor Mark Dayton announced his support for the delay of a major vote, saying that a study must first be conducted to evaluate the environmental impact of running trains through tunnels.
A $100 million-plus plan to run the light-rail trains through tunnels in a Minneapolis recreation area was endorsed by plan architects at the start of October. It was the first time they had backed such a proposal over the $200 million plan to reroute freight trains through St. Louis Park, which residents there strongly opposed.
The plan included the digging of 1.4-mile tunnels in the scenic Kenilworth Corridor. According to the Star Tribune, the plan was advanced but not endorsed Monday by key policymakers who withheld final judgment for the Metropolitan Council, which was meant to meet Wednesday to vote on the plan.
Now, as a result of the decision, the Wednesday Met Council vote will be postponed an expected 60 to 90 days, the Minneapolis newspaper reported.
The delay will reportedly allow government agencies to determine how the new tunnels would impact the lakes and groundwater in the surrounding Kenilworth corridor of Minneapolis.
The Southwest light-rail is the biggest transit project the metro area has ever seen at about $1.5 billion. It will link downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, covering 15 miles and making 17 stops for an estimated 30,000 riders a day.
The city of Minneapolis and Mayor R.T. Rybak are happy with the delay, hoping it will result in an alternate routing option. The Met Council has had the difficult task of examining many rerouting options since butting heads with the Twin Cities & Western Railroad (TC&W).
Twin Cities Business editor Adam Platt delved deep into the government’s dispute with TC&W in this year’s April issue, click here to learn more.