The Governor and legislative leaders made an end of the session deal that includes $70 million in state funding for the Central Corridor LRT project. Lawmakers also passed a measure that will exempt the Central Corridor from state sales tax, which will save the project about $9 million.
Additionally, the Metropolitan Council has voted to proceed with the Washington Ave alignment, rather than the Northern alignment alternative. This decision was driven in large part by the data that showed that the number of anticipated riders did not justify the cost of Northern Alignment and it would not fit into the federal government’s Cost Effectiveness Index.
I am hopeful that this decision will now allow this project to go forward. The central corridor has the potential to be of great benefit to the neighborhoods in the area, the city of Minneapolis and to the larger region. Thanks in part to the studies of the tunnel, at-grade on Washington and the Northern Alignment options, we now have a clearer understanding of what kind of mitigation will be required if the Washington Avenue alignment is to be successful. I am convinced that the only way the Washington at-grade alignment will work is if it is closed to vehicles, other than buses and emergency vehicles, and if adequate improvements are made to area roads. I look forward to working with the University, impacted neighborhoods, City staff and others to craft a mitigation plan that will address the expected traffic impacts of closing Washington Ave and ensure that plans and resources are in place to address potential traffic problems and improve safety, walkability, and neighborhood-friendly development.
The Council held a public hearing today on this project, but you can still submit written public comments until June 9 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Transportation and Public Works committee will discuss this project at their regularly scheduled meeting on June 10, at 9:30am, and the Council will make a final decision about local approval on June 20. The County will also hold a public hearing on June 17, 1:30 pm - Hennepin County Government Center A-2400, 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis. Open house in Room A-2350 at 12:30 pm.