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Report Shows Twin Cities Traffic Congestion Crisis is No Accident

Twin Cities traffic congestion has reached the crisis point with metro area drivers stuck in traffic 47 hours per year on average compared to 12 hours in 1982. But instead of focusing on comprehensive congestion relief, the state agencies responsible for the transportation system—the Metropolitan Council and MnDOT--pursue policies that make the problem worse, according to a new Center of the American Experiment report. The 24-page report, “Twin Cities Traffic Congestion: It’s No Accident,” estimates the cost of wasted time, wasted fuel and increased pollution from commuters, delivery drivers and others stuck in traffic tie-ups totals nearly $4 billion a year,...

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Federal and Local Funding Still in Doubt for Southwest Light Rail

The sigh of relief by Met Council brass over a $10 million New Starts federal grant that keeps the Southwest Light Rail line on life support illustrates just how jittery the regional agency has become over the fate of the controversial $1.9 billion project. But the troubled line still faces significant obstacles in Washington and St. Paul that threaten to derail funding and approval of the project. The funding announcement became news as part of the federal budget deal reached by Congress over the weekend. Some initial reports gave the impression that Congress had fully funded the project and directed the US...

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US Transportation Officials: No Federal Funds for Troubled Southwest Light Rail  

Hold everything. Top U.S. Department of Transportation officials have informed Minnesota legislators the controversial Southwest Light Rail Transit line does not qualify for $928 million in make-or-break federal funding necessary for the Metropolitan Council to start construction as planned this year. The announcement came from the Federal Transit Administration in response to a letter from Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt and 83 Republican state legislators who expressed concern over SWLRT’s “financial plan, potential environmental impacts, alignment and projected ridership.” Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn., has also urged FTA to reject funding. The FTA oversees the federal New Starts program that provides 50 percent...

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Is Southwest Light Rail Transit Line on the Ropes?

The Met Council always expected the Southwest Light Rail Transit line to be on the short list in Washington—the short list for $895 million in federal funding for construction. Instead, the controversial $1.9 billion project has suddenly popped up on a different list of transit projects that the Washington Post warns “could be out of luck under the Trump Budget.” President Trump’s budget proposal zeroes out the New Starts program that funds light rail transit projects like SWLRT. "Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects," according to the...

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