Southwest LRT: Hennepin County, Met Council resolve funding gap

The Metropolitan Council announced on Monday the funding deficit to finish the Southwest Light Rail Train line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie has been resolved.

The Met Council and Hennepin County have been working for several months to figure out the remaining funding gap for the green line extension, a project that has gone over budget and over time than initially planned. 

The 14.5-mile Minneapolis to Eden Prairie line has already doubled its original budget from $1.2 billion to now costing an estimated $2.74 billion, with a portion of that unclear how it would be funded, until Monday.

While the Met Council’s announcement did not share how much funding is needed to finish the project, it said the agreement calls for the two entities to equally share in funding the gap in capital and startup costs. 

As part of the agreement, Hennepin County will provide 55% of the capital costs from their transit sales tax. Meanwhile, the Met Council is responsible for the startup costs prior to the line opening and will contribute 45% of the funds needed to complete the capital construction of the project, according to the release. 

The funding agreement is subject to approval from the Hennepin County Board and Metropolitan Council. The new project budget will be sent to the Federal Transit Administration for review, with plans for the budget to be adopted in early 2024. 

The opening date for the green line extension is scheduled for 2027, four years behind schedule. 


Audit says Met Council failed to manage rising costs of Southwest LRT project

The Metropolitan Council is taking heat once again for its management of the Southwest Light Rail Train project. A new audit finds the agency failed to hold contractors accountable for rising costs, and the audit questions the Met Council's oversight.