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Reality Check: MN’s 10 Costliest Publicly-Funded Projects

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Vikings broke ground on a new stadium this week. It’s a project so big, it muscled its way straight onto the list of largest public projects in state history.

It’s bigger than the I-35W bridge construction, bigger than the St. Croix bridge crossing. And that’s just the start.

It’s TRUE. The price tag of the Vikings’ $1 billion state of the art stadium is higher than Target Field,

The TCF Bank Stadium, the Xcel Energy Center, and Target Center … combined.

But it’s not all stadiums. Among the unofficial top 10 list of Minnesota’s most expensive public projects of all time, rail projects take four of the top 10 spots. In decreasing order of their costs or projected costs, those projects are the Southwest line, the Central Corridor line, the Hiawatha Light Rail line, and the Northstar Commuter Rail line.

The expected costs for the Southwest Light Rail actually exceed the expected costs for the new Vikings stadium, at an estimated $1.25 billion for the LRT.

However, none of the aforementioned projects represent the single most expensive public project in state history.

That honor goes to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport expansion, a 14-year, $3.2 billion improvement project that began in 1998, covering facilities, roadways and airfields.

In its entirety, here is our unofficial “Top Ten” list of Minnesota public construction projects:

01. MSP International Airport Upgrade: $3.2 billion
02. SW Corridor (planned): $1.25 billion
03. Minnesota Vikings Professional Sports Facility: $1 billion
04. Central Corridor Light Rail Transit: $957 million
05. Hiawatha Light Rail Transit: $715 million
06. St. Croix River Bridge: est. $540-640 million
07. Minnesota Twins Profession Sports Facility: $390 million
08. Northstar Commuter Rail: $320 million
09. TCF Bank Stadium at the U of M: $296 million
10. I-35 W Bridge Reconstruction: $259 million

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Target Center
Target Field
Xcel Energy Center
TCF Bank
Twin Cities Airport
St. Croix Bridge Crossing
Southwest Light Rail
Northstar Commuter Rail
Central Corridor Light Rail
Minnesota Vikings Stadium
Press Release: Vikings Break Ground On New Stadium

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