Minnesota’s three largest local Chambers of Commerce – the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce – have jointly voiced their support for Gov. Mark Dayton’s inclusion of $25 million in state funding for the Southwest Light Rail Transit line in his Jan. 17 bonding proposal. The proposed Southwest LRT would connect the southwest suburbs with downtown Minneapolis and the regions three existing Light Rail lines, the Central Corridor Light Rail, Hiawatha Light Rail and Northstar Commuter Rail.
“As the economy edges toward improvement, major Twin Cities employers will be looking to expand – either in our area or elsewhere – in the coming years,” said TwinWest Chamber President Bruce Nustad in a statement. “We want to keep businesses growing here and that means making critical transit investments now.”
The TwinWest Chamber of Commerce represents businesses in the western suburbs, such as Plymouth, Golden Valley and St. Louis Park.
The Southwest Light Rail line would run 15 miles through Eden Prarie, Minnetonka, Edina, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis. It would connect with the existing Light Rail lines at The Interchange, the proposed transit hub adjacent to Target Field.
The Metropolitan Council projects the areas on the Southwest Light Rail corridor will add 60,000 jobs by 2030. By the same year, the Southwest line is projected to see 30,000 daily riders, similar to the Hiawatha line’s current ridership.
“Our members need high-quality transit options to get their employees to and from work,” said Minneapolis Regional Chamber President Todd Klingel in a statement. “In downtown Minneapolis, more than 40 percent of employees rely on transit. We can’t grow our region’s economy unless we can get people to their jobs.”