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Met Council says Blue Line extension could cost up to $3.2B, will be "competitive" for federal funding

EXTENDED: Metro Transit debuts new "TRIP Agents"
EXTENDED: Metro Transit debuts new "TRIP Agents" 03:32

MINNEAPOLIS — The light rail could be coming to new communities in the Metro, but at a cost. The Metropolitan Council wants to extend the Blue Line, which runs between Mall of America and Target Field.

The proposed route would head north approximately another 13 miles past Brooklyn Park.

The Council says it would help boost ridership and connect communities that need access to public transit. 

Right now, the project is expected to cost between $2.9 billion and $3.2 billion. That means it would likely cost more than the controversial Southwest Light Rail project between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. That project remains still in the works after years of delays and cost overruns.

Planners argue that this price tag is consistent with national trends for similar projects, but also argued that there is a qualitative benefit as well.

"Ridership isn't just about the number of people riding. It's also about who we are serving. This is a generational equity investment in communities of color that have historically been underinvested in," Hennepin County Commissioner Irene Fernando said. "It will guarantee premium transit service in communities of color who rely on transit every day to get to work, school, healthcare, family, and opportunities. These communities have experienced a history of underinvestment and racial disparities stemming from generations of systemic racism. They deserve the same level of investment as others benefitting from light rail investments in our region."

The project estimates for ridership and cost will still need to undergo the process of being reviewed. Environmental studies are also still in the future as well, should it move forward.

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