In three years, the price estimate for the Southwest LRT, from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, has jumped from 1.5-ish billion to, as of yesterday, two billion dollars. And in a move that smacks of “giving the DFL political cover” (or, if you feel really cynical, responding to the NIMBY responses of his Kenwood neighbors), Governor Dayton has started what looks like walking the project back:
Dayton said in a statement released Monday that the rising costs to design and build the Southwest light rail “raises serious questions about the viability and affordability,” of the project.
Dayton called on the Metropolitan Council, which he appointed, to review other options for providing public transit to the region.
In the news conference Monday, Dayton said the project will not get additional money until costs are under control.
Prediction: Governor Dayton and the DFL are going to use any potential cancellation as proof of their “fiscal responsibility”, as well as to inoculate the Met Council from further criticism.