News: Lawsuit agreements keep Southwest Light Rail project moving forward

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Media contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

Lawsuit agreements keep Southwest Light Rail project moving forward

The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) held a special meeting Thursday to consider approval of agreements related to settlement of a lawsuit by a freight rail company. Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company was challenging property transfers proposed for the Southwest LRT project.

The Authority voted 5-1 to consent to construction and co-location agreements between the Metropolitan Council and Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company. In separate votes during a preceding closed legal briefing, HCRRA and the Hennepin County Board voted to approve the document by which the lawsuit was settled and claims were released.

The agreements resolve issues associated with property transfers and light rail construction and operations, and allow shared use by light rail and freight vehicles in the Southwest LRT corridor. They also include $18.5 million in payments to Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company, contingent on Southwest LRT project progress and milestone completion.

The agreements, which were approved by the Metropolitan Council on Wednesday, have now been executed and will be sent to the federal Surface Transportation Board as part of proceedings by that Board to approve certain project property transfers in the freight corridors.

“These agreements clear a major roadblock for Southwest LRT,” said Hennepin County Commissioner and HCRRA Board Chair Peter McLaughlin. “Federal Surface Transportation Board approval will help clear the way for the Federal Transit Administration to complete its evaluation of the Southwest LRT project and ultimately, to proceed to construction.”

Read the construction agreement board action request.

Read the co-location agreement board action request.

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