"We’re behind our competitors. Almost everyone has a more robust transportation system than we do. We are starting to lose jobs and talent to those other regions precisely because we’re behind on transit."

— 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.

Forty-one years after the last train pulled out of St. Paul’s Union Station, the rail hub is ready for trains to return. The landmark station reopens Saturday after a $243 million facelift. The depot will host a new bus hub with intercity bus service returning in 2013, Amtrak trains later in the year, and light rail service in 2014.

See more photos from Jeffrey Thompson and read the full story from Tim Nelson.

Southwest LRT Map

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.

Read more from reporter Jess Mador

The proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit route could run along the existing line at Excelsior Blvd. just east of Highway 169 in Hopkins, pictured here in a photography by Jeff Thompson.
But it’s not a sure thing. Legislators are debating whether to fund the proposed Southwest light rail line in this year’s bonding bill.
Gov. Mark Dayton has made expanding light rail in the southwest metro a top priority this year. But House transportation leaders this week failed to include the light rail line from Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis on a list of recommended projects.
Read more from reporter Jess Mador.

The proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit route could run along the existing line at Excelsior Blvd. just east of Highway 169 in Hopkins, pictured here in a photography by Jeff Thompson.

But it’s not a sure thing. Legislators are debating whether to fund the proposed Southwest light rail line in this year’s bonding bill.

Gov. Mark Dayton has made expanding light rail in the southwest metro a top priority this year. But House transportation leaders this week failed to include the light rail line from Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis on a list of recommended projects.

Read more from reporter Jess Mador.

"Light rail" no more. Meet "Metro."
Under a plan the Metropolitan Council approved Wednesday, the light rail  and rapid transit lines will be known as “Metro” once the Central  Corridor line opens in 2014.
Read more here.

"Light rail" no more. Meet "Metro."

Under a plan the Metropolitan Council approved Wednesday, the light rail and rapid transit lines will be known as “Metro” once the Central Corridor line opens in 2014.

Read more here.