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Met Council not concerned about Southwest LRT's exclusion from Dayton's bonding bill

A prelimary map of the Southwest LRT line's proposed route.
A prelimary map of the Southwest LRT line's proposed route.
Images via Met Council and Mulad on Flickr

For the Met Council, getting some bonding bucks for Southwest LRT would be like icing on the proverbial cake -- a nice bonus, but not necessary.

SEE ALSO: Mpls committee approves streetcar plan called "boondoggle of highest order" by Cam Winton

The council asked Dayton for $81 million for that purpose, but according to the bonding proposal the governor released yesterday, it'll get zilch.

No biggie, Met Council spokesperson Bonnie Kollodge told us yesterday.

"Dayton is asking the council to evaluate and consider alternative financing options for the remaining amount of the state's 10 percent share of the $1.25 billion project," Kollodge said, adding that the state has so far committed $44 million to the project and needs to commit $81 million more. "This is not a setback or deal-breaker. Not being included in the bonding bill just recognizes the politics of passing a bonding bill."

During a news conference yesterday, Dayton said his nearly $1 billion bonding proposal prioritized "shovel-ready projects." Indeed, Southwest LRT isn't close to that point, as the layout of the 14.5-mile Eden Prairie-to-downtown line is still the subject of a contentious and long-running dispute between St. Louis Park and Minneapolis.

"My proposals will put thousands of Minnesotans to work throughout our state," Dayton said in a press release, adding that his proposal, if enacted by the Legislature, will create more than 27,000 jobs. "This bill gives priority to projects that are ready to go."

But Kollodge said the Met Council isn't reliant on bonding.

"We are confident that we will be able identify a funding source that will complete the remaining amount of the state's 10 percent share of the project," she said.

On that point, it's relevant to note that Senate Transportation Committee Chair Scott Dibble told us earlier this week he's optimistic a comprehensive transportation bill can get done this session.

Asked what projects he'd especially like to see completed, Dibbled said, "Southwest LRT is extremely important."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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