Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Local funding OK'd for Minneapolis streetcar plan

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The Minneapolis City Council approved a plan Tuesday, June 25, 2013, to commit local funds to a proposed streetcar line for Minnesota's largest city, to be integrated with the Twin Cities' growing light rail transit network.

Minnesota's state legislature earlier this year gave Minneapolis permission to redirect property taxes from buildings adjacent to the proposed route to help fund the project. The line as currently proposed would run from the intersection of Lake St. and Nicollet Ave. north on East Hennepin Ave.

The city estimates the special assessment district, deemed the "value capture district," would cover roughly 25% of the estimated $200 million construction cost. Other funding, including federal assistance, will be pursued.

The City Council earlier this month gave initial approval to the proposal. Unlike many other U.S. streetcar projects under consideration, Minneapolis hopes the Metropolitan Council, which oversees the LRT system serving Minneapolis and St. Paul, will also oversee the streetcar line.