Since the inception of the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) in 2011, the cost of the project has more than doubled and the line’s opening date has been delayed nine years, the Office of the Legislative Auditor reported at the beginning of September.
The light rail line, which is meant to connect Minneapolis to the western suburbs, is now estimated at a whopping $2.74 billion cost, with the federal government covering $969 million, Hennepin County covering $772 million, Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority covering $200 million and the rest of the funding is being supplied by cities and the state of Minnesota. That leaves an estimated half a billion dollars of the project unfunded. The Southwest LRT was originally supposed to be completed and open to the public in 2018; the Metropolitan Council now estimates the project will be ready in 2027.
Following the release of the auditor’s report, the Metropolitan Council and the project itself have drawn criticism from across the political spectrum.
Source: Office of the Legislative Auditor