The Met Council will not make a decision about the light-rail project until at least Oct. 16.
The Met Council staff's recommendation was favorable to St. Louis Park, rejecting the possibility of rerouting freight traffic through St. Louis Park and endorsing a plan to co-locate freight and light-rail along the bike trail that runs through the Kenilworth neighborhood, between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake.
“With the recommendation to put light rail in shallow tunnels, no homes or businesses will be acquired, and the Kenilworth Trail will stay within the corridor and be preserved for the long term," Met Council engineer Mark Fuhrmann said in a statement Tuesday. "The shallow tunnel option is the best option because it ensures conditions in the Kenilworth neighborhood will be the most similar to existing conditions today.”
The light-rail project is expected to cost $1.56 billion when tunnels and other costs associated with the staff recommendations are taken into account, up from an earlier $1.25 billion estimate that did not factor in freight rail adjustments.
But the city of Minneapolis stands in staunch opposition to the co-location option and could withhold municipal consent or file lawsuits should the Met Council approve a plan that keeps freight rail traffic in the Kenilworth corridor.
On Wednesday morning, the Corridor Management Committee voted to wait a week before making a decision about the staff's recommendation, according to the Star Tribune. St. Louis Park was the only city opposed to the delay.