Governor to Light Rail Committee: “I Believe in the Blue Line Extension.”
Governor Tim Walz reiterated his support for the Bottineau light rail project in a virtual meeting with local leaders on Thursday.
“I believe in the Blue Line Extension,” said Gov. Walz who spoke over the phone in the virtual meeting. “I know investments in this line will transform communities.”
The METRO Blue Line Extension Corridor Management Committee is comprised of representation from Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Crystal, New Hope and Robbinsdale as well as members of the Metropolitan Council, MnDOT, Hennepin County commissioners and other coalitions and committees associated with the project.
Walz complimented local leaders who have continued to work on the project, despite numerous setbacks. He expressed support for moving away from negotiating with BNSF. Under the recently abandoned route, about eight miles of the line’s 13-mile route would have been shared with BNSF.
“There have been years of negotiations in good faith. I have spoken with them on numerous occasions. I don’t think they are going to change their minds now or never,” said Walz. “Let’s create our own future and not be dependent on whims of another partner.”
Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde responded to the governor emphasizing the desire to move the project forward.
“Sometimes we forget the why because we are so concerned with the what and where, but it’s the who that’s really important. People with disparities are who will benefit from this line,” said Lunde, who also spoke over the phone. “Make no doubt about it, Brooklyn Park and all the communities on this line have not wavered one bit. We will roll up our sleeves and work hard because we know who will benefit.”
Lunde and other local mayors had previously signed onto a letter pushing for action on the Blue Line Extension project, going as far as saying the lack of action could be attributed to systemic racism.
You can listen to the full meeting, which was streamed live on ccxmedia.org, here.