(AUDIO) Franken on Southwest LRT: ‘It Should Happen’
The U.S. senator said Minnesotans must still continue advocating for the project.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is optimistic the Southwest Light Rail Transit project will be completed, but he said Minnesotans still need to show their support.
The Obama Administration announced Monday that the Southwest Light Rail project is one of two projects in the country that will be expedited under the "We Can't Wait" initiative. That initiative aims to speed up the various processes required to get a big project off the ground.
In a brief interview with Patch on Wednesday at the Eisenhower Community Center, Franken said his role under the expedited process will be to continue to push for the project.
Even with the move to the expedited process, Minnesota faces tough political fights over the funding its expected to provide. Neither the state Legislature nor the Department of Employment and Economic Development backed the project. Dayton eventually allocated $2 million to keep LRT moving forward—a fraction of the $25 million Southwest supporters hoped to get from last year’s bonding bill and the $125 million total state requirement for the project.
“We just have to meet the funding requirements and continue to advocate for it and get on me and (U.S. Sen.) Amy (Klobuchar) and our House members to advocate for it. But it should happen,” Franken said.
Listen to Franken’s comments in the audio above.