“This was an open process, with rigorous debate worthy of a project of this magnitude,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman. “After extensive discussion with the community and our partners, we have come to a consensus and I am excited to move forward.”
The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) voted on the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project’s Locally Preferred Alternative on Tuesday, November 3. The HCRRA unanimously voted to recommend Route 3A (Kenilworth alignment) over any of the options running through Uptown to the Metropolitan Council for inclusion in its 2030 Transportation Plan.
The project now moves into preliminary engineering, pending final approval from the Federal Transit Administration. The Southwest LRT project recently received $5 million in state bonding allocated by the Metropolitan Council for transit improvements; the bonding will be used for preliminary engineering and environmental work.
The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) recommendation of Light Rail Transit 3A (Kenilworth Corridor) as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) has been sent to the Metropolitan Council for its consideration and action.
The Metropolitan Council has not determined exact dates for its actions, but it is expected it will act in early 2010 to select the LPA. Not only did the HCRRA unanimously approve the Kenilworth alignment, but 3A was also recommended by the Technical Advisory and Policy Advisory Committees. After the Metropolitan Council selects the LPA it will then set a public hearing date for the purpose of amending the Transportation Policy Plan (TPP), the long-range transportation plan for the region, to also reflect the LPA for the Southwest Project.
Once the LPA is selected by the Metropolitan Council and the TPP is amended, the project may proceed into Preliminary Engineering (PE) subject to Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approval. PE typically takes two to three years to complete.
Hennepin County will continue to work with residents and businesses to undertake environmental work and conduct station area planning. The environmental review will identify impacts to the community and develop options for mitigating those impacts.
For more information visit www.southwestransitway.org.