2018 Minnesota Light Rail Updates


Light Rail Update: What to Expect in 2018

Ask a Minnesotan who works and lives in the Twin Cities what the biggest public construction project is, and chances are they’ll say the decades-long light rail project. The METRO Green Line and Blue Line are in full operation, with expansions to both in the planning stages. There’s been a lot of news about the Green Line extension (aka Southwest LRT) and the Blue Line extension (aka Bottineau LRT). Here’s a brief look at each project and what you can expect in the coming year.

METRO Green Line Extension, aka Southwest LRT

If completed, the Southwest LRT line will snake its way from Eden Prairie through Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Minneapolis to Target Field. Approximately 210,000 residents would be served by the Southwest LRT. The project is currently in the Engineering phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s funding process and final plans have been published online. If completed, the Southwest LRT would open in 2022.

However, the 15-mile Southwest LRT project has faced a lot of local opposition. Homeowners in Minneapolis worry increased traffic along the existing railway will change the character of their neighborhood. And in September, cost estimates were way over expectations of $1.858 billion, with the Met Council sending all bids back to the drawing board. The council hopes to decide on contractors by March 2018.

If the Southwest LRT project continues as planned, property owners along the light rail route will have the government knocking on their doors to take easements and acquire property in 2018. Remember that you do not have to accept the government’s first offer and you do not need to negotiate alone. Morphew Law can help you understand your rights.

METRO Blue Line Extension, aka Bottineau LRT


The 13-mile Bottineau LRT has been less controversial than the Southwest LRT (at least so far). The Bottineau LRT will run from Target Field north through Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park. The plan calls for 11 new stations and will generally run along an existing freight railway. When completed in 2022, Bottineau LRT will serve 27,000 daily riders.

In 2017, the project entered the Engineering phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s funding process. This month, the Metropolitan Council announced Bottineau LRT designs are 90 percent complete. The Metropolitan Council will begin work on the line in 2018, when the federal government will grant full funding.

Property owners along the Bottineau LRT face similar eminent domain challenges as those along the Southwest corridor. The government will approach property owners along the Bottineau line to claim easements or acquire property. If you’re concerned the government has set its sights on your property, remember you have the right to negotiate.

Whether you welcome the arrival of light rail in your community or dread the day the government comes to acquire some or all of your property, contact Jon Morphew and the Morphew Law Office, PLLC at 612-790-9189 today for a free consultation.