Possible $38 million package to reduce SWLRT funding gap

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Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

News release

Hennepin County considering $38 million package to reduce SWLRT funding gap

Hennepin County leaders announced today that they will consider a funding package worth approximately $38 million to help reduce the Southwest LRT funding gap. 

The package includes a Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority (HCCRA) land contribution valued at approximately $30 million, $5 million in grants from the county’s Environment and Remediation Fund and $3 million from Hennepin County Community Works. The $30 million land contribution, already part of the project, is expected to leverage an additional $30 million in Federal Transit Authority contributions.

The announcement came as the Southwest LRT Corridor Management Committee (CMC) met to finalize recommended scope and budget reductions for the light rail transit project. The CMC, made up of leaders all along the line, had a goal to cut $340 million from the project budget while maintaining the project’s integrity. During today’s deliberations, the CMC voted to extend the line to Southwest Station in Eden Prairie and reduce the budget by $250 million. The county and its local and regional partners made commitments to work together to fill the remaining $90 million funding gap.

The $38 million pledge from the county served as a catalyst for its project partners to come together and make their own pledges. With commitments from Hennepin County and its partners, plus today’s scope reductions, the remaining local funding gap is less than $10 million. The Met Council is expected to act on the recommendations next week.

Hennepin County Board Chairwoman Jan Callison, who represents Hennepin County on the CMC with commissioners Peter McLaughlin, Linda Higgins, and Marion Greene (alternate), said hard work by staff from all of the municipal partners along the corridor and the county helped move the discussion from “shared sacrifice to shared investment.” 

“It is evident that there is shared support for this project all along the line,” Callison said. “I can’t emphasize enough how much I appreciate the hard work to get us to this point, and the support put forth by our municipal partners.” 

McLaughlin, who chairs the HCCRA, said the recommendations and commitments make the region a better place. 

“This is a huge step forward for the corridor and the region,” he said. “It was all the partners coming together. People stepped up to ensure that we were creating an effective transit line that keeps our region competitive. We’re on track to get this transit line built as the third leg in building out a twenty-first century system.”

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Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at www.hennepin.us/news.