MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Metropolitan Council has to cut millions of dollars from the Southwest Light Rail project.
The Green Line extension will run from Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis.READ MORE: South Dakota's Kristi Noem Unveils Proposal To Ban Nearly All Abortions, Mimicking Texas Law
The Southwest LRT Corridor Management Committee met Wednesday morning to go over potential cost-saving options.
A recent estimate put the price tag for the project at almost $2 billion, which is 25-percent more than expected. That means some parts of the plan will change or get axed all together.
At least $341 million in cuts is needed to keep the project on budget. Even if artwork, landscaping and park-and-ride lots are eliminated, that still wouldn’t work.
The biggest obstacle for the council is making a decision that will maintain a weekday ridership of at least 29,000 people by the year 2040.
Heavy construction is scheduled to take place between 2017 and 2019. The project will begin passenger service as an extension of the METRO Green Line in 2019.READ MORE: 'We Did Pretty Good': Hopkins Girls Basketball Take On No. 1 Team In The Country
Committee members are trying to figure out the best stations to keep, and which ones to possibly get rid of in their plan.
“I haven’t heard advocacy for deleting Royalston [Station near north Minneapolis],” District 6 Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison said. “I’ve heard us engage in a process that asks questions about lots of different options and provide information. My own personal belief is that Royalston should stay in.”
District 2 Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins is also concerned with the possibility of axing stations that would service north Minneapolis residents.
“In Penn, both Bottineau and Southwest, there’s no bus connection between the two,” Higgins said. “But they are the most logical way for people to get from north Minneapolis to those jobs out there.”
Nothing was decided at Wednesday’s meeting. There will be about six more meetings before the Met Council makes a decision.MORE NEWS: Ryan Hartman Carries Wild Over Blackhawks 5-1
A final vote is expected in July.