A coalition pushing to extend the Bottineau Blue Line light-rail project met with members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., this week, hoping to recruit support for expanding the route.

The proposed 13-mile extension, which calls for adding 11 stops in the northwest Minneapolis suburbs, would link downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park.

“The goal of this project is to continue to drive economic investment, increase equity, access to jobs, improve transportation options and reduce racial and economic disparities in north Minneapolis and in the northwest metro,” Nelima Sitate Munene, executive director of African Career Education & Resource Inc., and a member of the Connect Blue Line Now! coalition, said in a statement.

The extension of the Blue Line would connect riders from the northwest suburbs to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America and link to the Green Line, which runs from downtown Minneapolis to St. Paul. It also would connect commuters to many bus routes in between.

Golden Valley, Robbinsdale and Crystal would gain light-rail stops under the proposed expansion, while neighboring New Hope and Brooklyn Center also would be served.

Funding for the project, estimated at $1.5 billion, is expected to come from a combination of federal, state and local sources, according to a coalition statement.

David Mullen is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.