In a Thursday, Feb. 3, news release, Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case Eden issued his reactions to the revised, estimated $2.75 billion cost and the delay of passenger service of the Metro Green Line Extension (SWLRT) until 2027.
The news about the light rail transit project was announced during the Metropolitan Council meeting on January 26 and again during the February 2 Corridor Management Committee Meeting, a SWLRT oversight panel of mostly elected officials from Hennepin County and the five cities through which the 14.5-mile long line will connect.
Metro Green Line Extension Director Jim Alexander explained during the two virtual meetings that unanticipated challenges constructing the Kenilworth tunnel and a railroad barrier wall in Minneapolis have added significant costs. The addition of Eden Prairie’s Town Center Station has also been more costly than anticipated.
Read EPLN’s related February 1, article here.
During Tuesday’s committee meeting, Alexander responded to comments and questions from St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano, Edina Mayor Jim Hovland, Hopkins Mayor Patrick Hanlon, Minnetonka Mayor Brad Wiersum, Hennepin County Commissioner Chris LaTondresse, Dist 6, and others.
They expressed serious disappointment in the delay and the spike of the revised projected cost of a massive project which the Met Council says is more than 60% complete. There were calls for more committee oversight of the remaining stages of the project.
The five partner Cities, including Minneapolis, have invested significant municipal resources into the light rail project. The Met Council says that the project has sparked approximately $2 billion in investments. The mayors, however, are worried that some planned investments may back off, given the delay.
To view the February 2 Corridor Management Committee meeting video click here.
Mayor Ron Case’s February 3 statement on SWLRT
Eden Prairie Residents,
The Southwest Light Rail Transit METRO Green Line Extension (LRT) project has been in the news over the last week due to unexpected construction issues at the beginning of the line in Minneapolis. The proposed completion date of 2024 has now been delayed until sometime in 2027, and with a significant increase in cost. Knowing how frustrating this is for many of us to hear, I wanted to take this opportunity to share how this news affects Eden Prairie.
Although details of the LRT project have been the subject of debate and scrutiny since the earliest planning stages, the long-term benefits gained by expanding available transportation options in Eden Prairie — including LRT — have been consistently supported by city leaders and regional planners since the 1990s. The project was vetted by years of community engagement and governmental processes that resulted in obtaining crucial Federal funding, and has the enthusiastic support of every affected local and regional governmental unit.
LRT supports Eden Prairie’s economic vitality now and into the future. We have already welcomed substantial commercial and residential development projects around the four transit stations in our city that would not have occurred without the promise of LRT. Once completed, the LRT transit option for workers and residents of the future commuting to and from our city will greatly benefit our businesses and housing market.
While it is still unclear where the additional funds needed to complete the project will come from, there are several funding options available and cities along the line are not being asked to contribute more. Whatever funding sources emerge, the fact remains that Eden Prairie is a beneficiary of what will become an incredible public transportation amenity for our residents and businesses for decades to come.
The impact of this construction delay on Eden Prairie is very minor. We’re fortunate that the bulk of heavy construction for this project in our City is nearly complete, with only a few areas left to be finished in 2022. For the next few years, we will wait for the funding sources and final project schedule to be negotiated, and the rest of the construction completed, so we can begin enjoying the full benefits of having LRT in our community. Learn more about LRT at GreenLineExt.org.
Governing in America is a sometimes a slow and tedious process. But as I’ve said many times, as frustrating as it very often seems, it’s the best system on Earth because in the end, after all sides and perspectives get to weigh in, it works.
Be patient, keep in touch and stay involved. City government represents you, and though we can never please everyone on every issue, we do listen to everyone’s viewpoint.
Mayor Ron Case
To view Mayor Case’s statement on the city’s website click here.
Writer Jeff Strate served on the SWLRT Community Advisory Committee. Jeff is also a member of EPLN’s Board of Directors.
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