MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Twin Cities' $1.68 billion light rail line project moves forward with approval of a design that includes tunneling the trains in one Minneapolis neighborhood.
The agency in charge of the Southwest Corridor, the Metropolitan Council, voted in favor of a plan Wednesday that includes two shallow tunnels for the trains in the wooded Kenilworth Corridor. Railroad tracks will remain in the corridor instead of being diverted to St. Louis Park.
The council will now seek support from the five communities along the line, including Minneapolis, where the City Council and mayor are opposed to the tunnels, Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1oPnwi5 ) reported.
City leaders fear construction of the tunnels would degrade a scenic area popular with bicyclists and joggers. Minneapolis officials also want the existing freight traffic to leave the corridor.
Over the next couple of months, Minneapolis will need to negotiate with the Met Council if the project is to meet a key deadline by the end of June.
"I cannot imagine this region moving forward with a $1.6 billion project to move 30,000 people a day into the city of Minneapolis without the support of the city of Minneapolis," said council chairwoman Susan Haigh.
The Southwest line would link Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and St. Louis Park with downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, the State Capitol and downtown St. Paul.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org