Bonding Bills Leave Out Southwest LRT

The $496 million bill passed the House on a 99-32 vote and the Senate 45-22 Monday.

A late-hour contribution to the Southwest Light Rail Transit line is still not on the horizon.

The bonding bills the state House and Senate signed off on Monday does not include the $25 million for Southwest LRT that supporters want.

The money is to be part of a $125 million total state contribution to the project—which will run from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, through suburban communities such as St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Minnetonka. Federal money and county funds that are required to be spent on transit would match that, including a federal share of $625 million.

Gov. Mark Dayton included the $25 million in his $775 million bonding proposal at the beginning of this year’s legislative session, but the project has so far failed to gain any traction despite lobbying from communities along the line and .

"I understand that there is skepticism in certain parts of this chamber about additional rail transit. I get it," Minnesota Public Radio quoted Hopkins and St. Louis Park Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-District 44A). "But I think in terms of the long-term viability of our region, it's something that we really have to open our minds to increasingly."

The bonding bill passed the House on a 99-32 vote and the Senate 45-22. It will now go before conference committee.

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