MnLRT...Moving Minnesoootans Into the Next Century

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December 1998: Toxic Poisins Found in Minnesota Air
A recently released study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, known as the Cumulative Exposure Project, indicates that the air over hundreds of metropolitan areas across the United States, including many in Minnesota, contain unacceptably high levels of hazardous and toxic chemicals. According to analysis by the Star-Tribune, "MPCA officials estimate that about half of the health risks from all air toxics in the study comes from cars, trucks and other vehicles." These findings should further prompt Minnesota officials to follow through with the commitment to provide Minnesotans with reasonable alternative transportation choices, including Light Rail Transit!

November 1998: Hiawatha Corridor LRT Still On Track!
Community Planning Events Scheduled.
  • Nov 12, 1998 Longfellow and other neighborhoods' public meeting about LRT at Ann Sullivan School, Minneapolis 6:30-9pm
  • Nov 18, 1998 Workshop II, plan presentation for public review at Minneapolis Convention Center
Governor Elect Jesse Ventura Supports LRT!
According to Governor Elect Jesse Ventura, he is "strongly in favor of a light-rail system for the Twin Cities area, if surpluses allow." MnLRT urges Governor Elect Ventura to continue to support LRT for the Twin Cities metro area, but hopes LRT will be given equal footing with other transportation investment initiatives. Minnesota cannot afford to let progress on real transportation choice, LRT, get stalled in the budget surplus traffic jam.

Visit the Longfellow Community Page on LRT.

June 1998: Twin Cities Business Monthly on Light-Rail Transit.
May 1998: Check Out Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin's Hiawatha Corridor LRT Information Site at
22 APR 1998: Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson Signs Bonding Bill for Light Rail!
After nearly three decades of intense and often controversial discussions and planning, the Twin Cities will finally see its first (new) Light Rail line. On April 22, 1998, Governor Arne Carlson signed the capital improvements bonding bill with $40 million for construction of the Hiawatha Corridor LRT line, from the Mall of America, to MSP International Airport, through the West Bank of the U of MN, into downtown Minneapolis. The bonding bill also includes funding to complete study of the Riverview Corridor, from the airport into downtown St. Paul.
13 APR 1998: Minnesota State Legislature Passes Final Bonding Bill With Funding for Light Rail!
Late Thursday evening, April 9, 1998 the Minnesota Legislature passed an historic bonding bill with $40 million for LRT along the Hiawatha Corridor. The House passed the bill 86-47 around 11 p.m., followed by the Senate with a 46-21 vote. The bill now goes to Governor Arne Carlson for approval.

The LRT Debate Continues at the Star-Tribune: Check Out the Latest Commentary Regarding LRT in Dallas, Texas.

18 MAR 1998: MN Governor Arne Carlson Signals Heís On Board With LRT Plans
In a major breakthrough for transportation choice in the Twin Cities, Governor Arne Carlson indicated that he is willing to sign the capital improvements bonding bill for LRT along the Hiawatha Corridor, providing there will be no increase in Metro Area property taxes to pay for annual operating costs. See the full Star-Tribune article from April 18, 1998.

Comment: MnLRT is highly encouraged by and fully welcomes the Governorís tentative support for the Hiawatha Corridor LRT plans. According to Hennepin County, the Hiawatha LRT line would carry approximately 21,000 riders per day, and would cost approximately $7-10 million per year to operate. That $7-10 million would be off-set by approximately $6 million in fare revenues, plus additional revenue through other concessions. MnLRT strongly encourages any public investment in LRT to be as self-sufficient as possible in terms of operating costs, and encourages all public investment to result in the greatest possible return on investment. 

12 MAR 1998: LRT Bill on MN House Floor
The Minnesota House capital improvements bill, containing $56 million for the Hiawatha Corridor LRT line, is expected to reach the House floor sometime today for debate and vote. A similar capital improvements bill has already passed the Minnesota Senate.

In other developments, Governor Arne Carlson, a longtime opponent of Light Rail Transit, is deciding whether he will sign a bill from the Minnesota Legislature that contains money for LRT. "He hasn't ruled it out," said spokeswoman Jackie Renner. "Right now, what we're trying to do is check on the finances. Once you get it up and running, does it run on its own?" she asked. Governor Carlson is also concerned about the absence of $65 million in the bill for the St. Paul hockey arena, which, along with a proposed new Twins stadium, is one of the Governorís pet projects.

Comment: While MnLRT welcomes and encourages vigorous public scrutiny of the Hiawatha LRT project to ensure the highest possible return on investment for Minnesota taxpayers, MnLRT continues to be concerned over the Carlson Administrationís application of one set of standards for LRT and other non-automobile transportation, and another set of standards (none) for examining the financial implications of roads and highways. Interstate 394 has cost Minnesota taxpayers over $450 million to date. In what year was it "profitable"?

Minnesota taxpayers still do not have complete disclosure of the real costs and benefits of highways. We should be very careful to judge all current and future transportation decisions by a truthful, comprehensive and fair set of standards.

10 FEB 1998: LRT On the Move
The Minnesota House Transportation Committee yesterday forwarded a bill, which would provide $106 million for construction of the Hiawatha Corridor LRT line, to the House Capital Investment Committee. The LRT bonding bill will be considered along with several other bonding proposals. The $106 million in state funds would be combined with a $200 million federal granted, which is expected to be available this session of Congress.

The House Capital Investment Committee meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. Committee leadership includes: Kalis-DFL (Chair), Luther-DFL (Vice-Chair), Dempsey-R (Lead Republican).

3 FEB 1998: Legislative Action On Track for LRT Along Hiawatha Corridor
Check the status of bills at the Minnesota Legislature or check out the actual bills, HF2561 and SF2417.
FEB 1998: LRT "Love Fest" at the Minnesota State Capitol
Metro Area County Commissioners presented a plan to the state Legislature which would help fund Minnesotaís first new LRT line along the Hiawatha Corridor between the Mall of America, MSP International Airport, the University of Minnesota and downtown Minneapolis.

"Standing at the back of the room was Lyle Wray, director of the anti-rail Citizens League. He dismissed Wednesday's presentation as a "love fest" and said there will be another side."

Join the LRT Discussion at the Star-Tribune Online.

15 JAN 1998: Metropolitan Council Chairman Curt Johnson Now On-Board in Support of Light Rail!!!
In a January 15, 1998 "Getting There" column, Star-Tribune staff journalist Laurie Blake highlights Mr. Johnson's new and improved position on Light Rail for the Twin Cities metro area. Check out the full story.
January 1998: Transit for Livable Communities Urges LRT Supporters to Help Make LRT Happen Along Hiawatha Corridor
TLC asks for your help in bringing the Twin Citiesí first light rail transit line to the Hiawatha Corridor in Minneapolis. This line would connect downtown Minneapolis to the airport and Mall of America.

Members of our Congressional delegation in Washington, DC are working together to obtain $200 million in Federal funding for the Hiawatha Corridor, as well as for the Riverview Corridor in St. Paul and the Northstar Corridor to Anoka. This $200 million represents nearly half of the cost of our first light rail system and would be part of a six-year Federal Transportation bill known as ISTEA.

Read the full Hiawatha-LRT Fact Sheet.

Check Out the Top Ten Myths About Transit and Light Rail in the Twin Cities

January 1998: Minnesota Counties Prepare to Ask Minnesota State Legislature for Funding for Light Rail Along Hiawatha Corridor
According to Minnesota State Representative Myron Orfield, District 60B, "county officials are working to persuade legislators to invest $106 million in state money and $200 million (in matching funds) from the federal government. Counties would have to raise $63 million from local sources and $37 million has already been spent on planning costs. While state officials review the $106 million request, Congress is expected to resume discussions in February or March over a $218.6 billion plan for federal transportation investments for the next six years.

According to county officials, there is a good chance of getting Hiawatha light rail included in the national plan because U.S. Reps. Jim Oberstar and Martin Sabo both hold important positions on key committees. This year, Congressman Martin Sabo obtained $12 million in federal funding to grade the land and build the bridges necessary for either light rail or a busway on Hiawatha."

Light Rail along the Hiawatha Corridor, between the Mall of America, MSP-International Airport and downtown Minneapolis would have an enormous, positive impact on transportation mobility and quality of life in the area. For less than $2 per person over the next 15 years, Minnesota can finally make a wise investment in the economic, social and environmental health of the Twin Cities metro area.

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