Congress provides $10 million for Southwest Light Rail Transit line

A federal appropriation bill that Congress approved and President Donald Trump signed this month includes $10 million for the Southwest Light Rail Transit project that would extend the existing Green Line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.

The line is one of four projects across the country that are the federal government anticipates will receive full funding grant agreement awards in 2017. The funding for Southwest Light Rail Transit is part of a $2.4 billion appropriation for large transit projects that already have full funding grant agreements or that the federal government anticipates will receive full funding grant agreements.

In response, Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck said in a statement, “This is encouraging news. The inclusion of (Southwest Light Rail Transit) in the proposed budget is an indication that the federal delegation understands this project is a key piece of our region’s transportation infrastructure.

“This type of federal backing does not occur without broad support from the local community and a strong case for a successful project. Southwest Light Rail will connect the region’s transit riders to over 64,000 jobs and is expected to create 7,500 construction jobs with a payroll of more than $350 million.”

The project still faces a lawsuit from the Lakes and Parks Alliance, with a trial scheduled to begin next September.

The Southwest Light Rail Transit line plans include stations in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis.