Monday, August 25, 2014

Feds give nod to fourth Twin Cities LRT line

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The Federal Transit Administration has given its approval for a fourth light rail transit line to move ahead, which would serve Minnesota's Twin Cities. The approval adds to a busy LRT year for the region.

FTA says the Metropolitan Council can begin design work for an extension of the Blue Line, also known as the Bottineau Transitway, north from Target Field in Minneapolis, stretching 13 miles to Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Target Field Station currently serves as a terminus for the existing Blue Line (Hiawatha Line) and the Green Line, which opened last June and adds the state capital, St. Paul, to the LRT system.

The fourth line, estimated to cost $1 billionto construct, would open for revenue service in 2021 under current plans. Weekday ridership is estimated at 27,000 by the year 2030. FTA funds would cover half of the cost. Hennepin County says it will seek state funding support from the state legislature in future budget years.

FTA approval comes as the region continues to advance the controversial Southwest Corridor Line, which would link Minneaspolis with Eden Prairie, Minn.