Major hurdles persist for Southwest light rail project

Proposed SWLRT route
Questions over how to make room for both light-rail and freight traffic along the proposed Southwest Corridor project could delay a key decision.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Questions over how to make room for both light-rail and freight traffic along the proposed Southwest Corridor project could delay a key decision.

Planners are trying to determine whether to bury the light-rail trains in the Kennilworth corridor of Minneapolis, or reroute existing freight traffic to St. Louis Park.

An advisory panel to the Metropolitan Council was expected to make its recommendation next week. But now that decision will likely be pushed off to the end of the month.

At a meeting Wednesday, several officials on the advisory panel pressed light-rail planners for more information on the project.

Metropolitan Council chairwoman Sue Haigh said their concerns are legitimate.

"What ... I heard from all of the members of the committee is, 'Let's not put this off. Let's make a decision. We just need a little bit more time to get these questions answered,' " Haigh said. "So that's excellent news."

The Metropolitan Council was expected to decide on the freight-rail issue later this month, but now it's unclear when that will happen.

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