BNSF wants to stay out of LRT Development
The Met Council pushed Blue Line Extension deadlines by two years after BNSF refused to negotiate. BNSF says BLRT does not meet their long-term interests.
BNSF doesn’t want to give away land
This is potentially a major snag for the future of light rail in the northwest burbs. The Met Council has pushed back the opening of the Blue Line extension to 2024 – which is 2 years later than they hoped. The reason for the delay is because BNSF does not want to be involved in light rail.
“We’re stuck,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat. “We’ve been trying to engage BNSF for years now planning that corridor, the Bottineau corridor. It’s a 100 foot wide corridor as many people who live up in those suburbs know, so there’s plenty of room for up to four tracks in there. There’s one now. The public will pay to move their freight tracks. We’re never going to compete with their ability to do freight rail.”
Opat is disappointed in BNSF’s decision, calling it, “not logical.”
The project’s price tag is a whopping $1.5 billion and Opat believes it makes sense for both parties to team up.
“This would be just sharing the space with separate tracks and separate operations,” Opat said. “It wouldn’t inhibit freight and as people know it’s a very lightly-used corridor. One train a day with five to seven cars a day if that. Nothing on the weekends, so it’s not this busy commercial freight corridor that’s going on there.”
The Met Council’s original plan was to acquire land from BNSF for light rail that would run through Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Robbinsdale and Golden Valley.