Board wants to put light rail storage center in Hopkins, against suburb's wishes

An advisory board of Twin Cities regional leaders for the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit project has recommended that a storage center be built in Hopkins, against the suburb's wishes.

City Council member Cheryl Youakim said her city is reluctant to take the operation and maintenance facility, or OMF, because it would push several businesses out of the area and cost about 200 jobs.

Youakim said much more work needs to be done before Hopkins consents to the light-rail project.

"We are for the project. We just want to make sure the burdens and benefits are equal to everybody," she said, "Currently, putting the OMF with no guarantee of how we'll be helped to get our tax base back is putting a large undue burden onto Hopkins."

Hopkins is the smallest city out of the five touching the transit route between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. Project planners say the storage facility would bring 180 jobs to Hopkins.

The Southwest Light Rail route would be the state's largest public works project, with a price tag of more than $1.5 billion.

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