— Will Schroeer from the Minneapolis- and St Paul-area chambers of commerce says recent chamber surveys show strong support for more transit and that the region stands to lose future jobs if it does not improve its system. Business groups will push for more stable funding for transportation projects when lawmakers resume their work at the Capitol next month. Read the story from Jessica Mador.
This is the proposed route of the Southwest Light Rail line. Last night, St. Louis Park City Hall was packed by residents spoke out against plans for the Southwest Corridor line. But it isn’t light rail that worries them, it’s heavy freight trains that would be rerouted there.
Al Boyce of St. Louis Park also says he supports the Southwest Corridor Light Rail project. But at Wednesday’s meeting he stood outside city hall with dozens of other protestors who were upset with the plans.
Boyce lives a block and a half away from the freight lines and said putting longer trains on the existing right of way would be disastrous.
"The railroad that goes through St. Louis Park was never meant for this kind of traffic. It meanders and goes within 50 feet of some homes," Boyce said. "To remediate it properly they would have to take out vast swaths of St. Louis Park homes to make a corridor wide enough for this to occur."
The public will have another chance to comment on the draft environmental impact statement Nov. 29 at Eden Prairie City Hall.
The Southwest Corridor project is expected to cost $1.25 billion, half of which would come from the federal government.
If Congress, and state and local governments OK the money and the Metropolitan Council sorts out the details of which trains go where, the Southwest Corridor light rail line could open in 2018.