Southwest LRT clears major hurdle, construction expected to begin this winter

Met Council
Kenilworth Bridge rendering

From MPR’s Martin Moylan: “The Metropolitan Council says it has received an important approval from the federal government for funding the Southwest Light Rail Transit Project. Construction on the $2 billion project could begin this winter. With a critical thumbs-up for the project by the Federal Transit Administration, the council is confident that the federal government will subsequently provide $929 million to fund the light rail line. Met Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff says they can now award construction bids. A vote to award a contract to the apparent low bidder will be held Thursday.”

Also from MPR, from Briana Bierschbach: “DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has been at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for the last month recovering from back surgery. Dayton first had surgery on Oct. 12 and underwent another procedure on Oct, 15. After the second surgery, a spokesman said the operations were successful, and the governor was expected to stay in the hospital for several days. But a spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that Dayton is still at Mayo and continuing physical therapy at the discretion of his doctors. There is no set discharge date yet.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor, “Hate crimes reported in Minnesota increased more than 22 percent, rising from 119 in 2016 to 146 last year. Police agencies reported 48 anti-black hate crimes in the state last year, 21 anti-white, 21 hate crimes motivated by a bias against the LGBTQ community, 16 anti-Jewish and 10 anti-Muslim crimes, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported. The increase came even as overall violent crime in the U.S. fell slightly, by 0.2 percent, after increases in 2015 and 2016.”

At CNBC Lauren Thomas writes, “Macy’s is testing smaller stores to save money, leaving it with room to bring in new concepts. The company said it’s picked four of its existing stores to test as ‘neighborhood’ locations, where it will cut as much as a fifth of square footage, thereby trimming excess inventory and staffing. CEO Jeff Gennette said Wednesday during a call with analysts that Macy’s will look in 2019 to see what format works best before deciding what it will roll out to other stores across the U.S.”

Says Josephine Marcotty in the Strib, “Managing the nation’s landscapes with carbon in mind — from prairies to farms to urban and northern forests — could cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 21 percent annually in the United States, about equal to what all the cars and trucks on the road produce. And Minnesota is among the states that could do the most: It ranks 8th overall with the potential to reduce net carbon emissions by up to a third, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.”

MPR’s Dan Kraker writes: “The St. Paul city council on Wednesday approved a $15 per hour citywide minimum wage, following the lead of Minneapolis and poising city workers to earn a wage that far exceeds the state’s current minimum.… But it’s going to take quite a bit of time for some of those raises to go into effect.”

A story at Barron’s says: “Wells Fargo ’s ongoing scandals have proven costly for a key executive at the company. Hope Hardison, a top lieutenant to CEO Timothy Sloan, has been placed on leave from her job as chief administrative officer, where she’s played a major role in the cleanup of the bank’s sales scandal … . The move followed a rare rebuke from one of the bank’s key regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Last month, the OCC sent letters to Hardison and David Julian, the bank’s chief auditor, criticizing them for oversight failures.”

The Star Tribune’s Kristen Leigh Painter writes: “Schwan’s Co., the Minnesota food distributor known for the home deliveries made by its distinctive gold trucks, is being sold to South Korea’s largest food company. CJ CheilJedang, or CJCJ as it is known, will pay $1.8 billion for an 80 percent stake in Schwan’s … . The Schwan family, descendants of founder Marvin Schwan who started the company in Marshall in 1952, will continue to own 20 percent, and run its home delivery service.”

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