Southwest light rail project pauses on short line negotiations in Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS — A long-proposed light-rail extension project near Minneapolis is running up against new challenges from one of three railroads that operate on or own the proposed right-of-way.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Southwest Light Rail extension project managers are still working to come to terms with BNSF Railway, Canadian Pacific, and short line Twin Cities & Western Railroad. Those managers tell the newspaper that negotiation delays will not effect the project's timeline or its ability to apply for nearly $1 billion in federal grants.

Southwest managers thought they had a deal with the TC&W to assume ownership and common carrier responsibilities for a narrow strip of land the short line now operates on for about $12 million. They now say the railroad wants additional concessions.

On another stretch of the proposed light rail right-of-way, BNSF Railway managers have requested a crash wall to further separate freight and passenger traffic. The newspaper reports the wall may cost as much as $20 million and has triggered a new environmental review.

Project managers and Hennepin County, Minn., leaders are also expected to purchase railroad property from Canadian Pacific to the tune of $27.5 million.

See the original article online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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