Tentative Southwest rail deal a big step, says Met Council's Sue Haigh

Traveling through Minneapolis
A light rail train in downtown Minneapolis.
Caroline Yang / For MPR News

The head of the Metropolitan Council says a new deal brokered with the city of Minneapolis provides a path forward for the embattled Southwest light rail project.

Met Council Chair Sue Haigh told The Daily Circuit that while the agreement isn't final, it's a big step toward finally securing Minneapolis' consent.

"I think this is a really important milestone, and there is a very good-faith commitment on the part of the City Council members who are part of the negotiation team, as well as the mayor and mayor's representative, to advance this project to the City Council for their support later this summer, in August," she said.

The tentative deal includes removing one of two light rail tunnels that will run between two lakes, and adding a station at 21st Street with connections to Franklin Avenue. Mayor Betsy Hodges says neighbors of the Kenilworth Corridor will be disappointed, but advancing the project is for the greater good.

The Met Council is also still seeking final approval from the cities of St. Louis Park and Eden Prairie.