The late spring edition of Democratic Visions features a discussion with transit equity advocate Kenya McKnight Ahad and myself on Southwest Light Rail, public transit and North Minneapolis. There had been hopes that the Minnesota State Legislature would, before end-of-session, appropriate $135 million dollars for the project through bonding or at least pass a bill that would enable other agencies such as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority to raise that amount. That $135 million, the State’s comparatively small share of the $1.79 billion dollar project, is needed to complete a match to qualify Southwest Light Rail for $895 million dollars from the Federal Transit Administration.
Three Chambers of Commerce, the city councils of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie and most of the neighborhoods along the planned alignment are now hoping that a special legislative session will provide the $135 million along with, of course, other transportation needs. During transportation, transit and infrastructure bill manuverings in the Legislature and opposition by some folks along the Kenilworth Corridor in Minneapolis and the Claremont residential complex in Minnetonka, media discussion of the impact of light rail and improved bus transit on North Minneapolis has been non-existent. I argue that North Minneapolitans will have the most to lose should lawmakers fail to act positively. During our discussion, Kenya McKnight Ahad advises that good transit studies and plans incorporating light rail and improved bus connections for North Minneapolis within its corner of the metro area and beyond already exist. What doesn’t exist, Ahad says, is a dependable manner and commitment to fund the plans. This segment runs about 22 minutes.
North Minneapolis, transit equity and Southwest Light Rail –
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