CNN Says Twin Cities "Got Transit Right" with Green Line

A Green Line train rolls through the U of M campus.

A Green Line train rolls through the U of M campus.

A CNN Money piece gives the Twin Cities props for getting transit right with the Green Line.

"Big projects often divide cities," the article notes. "But Minneapolis' light rail line is creating jobs and driving development in underserved areas." (The line serves St. Paul as well, of course, so CNN's way of putting things in the second sentence isn't quite right.)

See also:

Anti-LRT protest on Green Line's opening day was a bust

CNN praises policymakers for integrating the Green Line with "a series of innovative energy projects" nearby and notes the role it has already played in boosting business at places like the Afro Deli and the Republic on the West Bank. The project is also lauded for attracting residents and jobs to the Central Corridor area without pricing people out of the neighborhood.

CNN's piece comes on the heels of Metro Transit announcing that more than one million riders took trips on the Green Line last month. Average weekday ridership in September was 35 percent higher than original ridership projection for next year.

We asked Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr how the higher-than-expected ridership might impact the Green Line's finances. Going in, officials estimated that about 25 percent of operating costs would be covered by fares.

"We won't know how it will affect the overall budget until we get to the end of the year and look at all the expenses," Kerr replies, though he adds the 25 percent estimate was probably conservative, especially in light of the most recent ridership data.

We also asked about what impact, if any, the Green Line has had on Blue Line ridership.

Kerr says Metro Transit officials haven't noticed an uptick in Blue Line ridership thus far, but notes, "Obviously the system works better the more places it goes."

"So, for Vikings games, people using park-and-ride to get to downtown Minneapolis from Bloomington or points south, obviously they can just transfer easily to the Green Line, so that's an attractive option," he continues. "People are finding ways to combine these two lines, but I don't know what numbers would bear that out."

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.