Southwest LRT legislation introduced

Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to fund construction of the Southwest Light Rail line.

Two funding options were introduced – one appropriating $37 million in bonding and another appropriating $118 million in bonding.

The Southwest LRT would begin at Target Field and travel through St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie for a total of 15 miles. “It is time to move this project forward,” Sen. Melisa Franzen, D-Edina, said in a statement after introducing the legislation. “The business community, cities and residents are all on board. We need the legislature to step up and make an investment that will pay big dividends for the west metro.”

Rep. Paul Rosenthal introduced the legislation in the Minnesota House.

Approval of the bonding is up in the air this session, Rep. Ron Erhardt, D-Edina, said during a legislative update with the Edina City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 5. He said that Gov. Mark Dayton “doesn’t seem excited” about the bonding.

The omnibus bonding bill passed in the 2012 session didn’t include a $25 million allocation for the Southwest Corridor LRT.

The line has received the support of the cities of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and Edina.

Edina Mayor Jim Hovland told Erhardt they would like the legislation to move forward this session.

Franzen noted the LRT line would boost the business community in the southwest corridor.

“If we want our businesses to grow, we need to develop a transportation system that can keep up with demand,” she said in a statement. “We know that our highway system cannot keep up and this new light rail line will make a big difference for everyone in the west metro.”

 

Contact Lisa Kaczke at lisa.kaczke@ecm-inc.com.

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