The Metropolitan Council says that the new Green Line light rail line has attracted 121 new building projects worth $2.5 billion.
At that’s before it’s even started running between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul along University Avenue.
Projects, both commercial and residential, within a half-mile of the rail route are blossoming, the Council said. The total investment amount will go even higher, because costs of some of the projects haven’t been announced. And the amount doesn’t include such publicly-funded projects as Target Field, TCF Stadium or the new Vikings stadium, but does include the $243 million Union Depot renovation.
The council says the spending along the rail line is in line with reports from other cities: a new 20-mile light rail line between central Phoenix and Tempe attracted $3.5 billion in private investment between 2001 and the line’s actual opening in 2008; the Dallas light rail system has seen more than $1.5 billion in private real estate development adjacent to rail stations since 1997.
The official start date for the Green Line is June 14, and a report Tuesday from MPR said test runs are taking more than an hour to make the 11-mile trip from downtown to downtown. That’s considerably longer than the goal of 40 minutes.
And KSTP reports that officials are spending $300,000 to modify the new light rail cars to be better suited for disabled riders, following a complaint from the Minnesota State Council on Disability.