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Little Crow Transit Way study

Published (3/13/2009)
By Mike Cook
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Long-term regional transportation plans include a rail or rapid bus transitway extending northwest and southwest from the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) seeks bonding for a route going west to Willmar.

Held over March 10 by the House Transportation Finance and Policy Division for possible inclusion in its bonding recommendations to the House Capital Investment Finance Division, HF1210 seeks $500,000 for preliminary engineering, environmental analysis and land acquisition for the Little Crow Transit Way. The line was named in statute last year.

A companion SF1178, sponsored by Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), awaits action by the Senate Transportation Budget and Policy Division.

“This would just explore the need,” Urdahl said. “As I envision it right now, it would affect Hennepin, Wright, Meeker and Kandiyohi counties, and later on to points west perhaps.” He has not committed to bus or rail transit, just whatever would be the best option.

Urdahl said 64 percent of Meeker County workers leave the county for their job, with most driving to the Twin Cities metropolitan area along Highway 12. “That is becoming more and more congested, and the outlook is that it will continue to have that situation as we go through the years.”

Phillip Qualy, state legislative director of the United Transportation Union, said a second rail line could be added between Delano and Minneapolis on existing right of way. “The existing road bed from abandoned track is still there; the bridges; the viaducts; and infrastructure is still in place.”

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