Transit Committee Recommends SWLRT Tunnels

Updated: 10/22/2013 4:36 PM By: Jennie Olson

Photo: KSTP File Photo
Photo: KSTP File Photo

A transit committee Wednesday approved recommending a controversial plan for a proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit line.

The plan proposes to dig tunnels for the line near the Kenilworth Corridor Bike Trail in Minneapolis. The tunnels are considered the cheapest and best option, but some members of the community are threatening to file suit.

Community leaders with the Southwest Light Rail Corridor Management Committee voted to make a recommendation to the Metropolitan Council. The only member who voted to oppose the $160-million tunnel plan was Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Rybak says he wants the Southwest Light Rail Transit line to happen, but the route through Kenilworth is not the best possible way to do it.

Although Rybak says the Minneapolis City Council will stay at the table and work to approve an option that does not jeopardize the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. Rybak says the current plan does not answer what will happen to the lakes with all of the digging proposed near the Kenilworth Bike Trail to build the rail line.

The Met Council could make a final ruling on the project at their Oct. 16 meeting.

An open house is scheduled for Minneapolis residents on Oct. 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Kenwood Community Center.

The planned 15.8-mile light rail train route would serve the southwestern suburban cities of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, according to the Met Council. The $1.25-billion project would be funded by a combination of federal, state and local sources.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015.

More information about the project is available here.