Southwest LRT costs jump again to up to $1.82 billion

  • Updated: July 25, 2013 - 11:46 PM

The costs keep rolling in for the future Southwest Corridor light-rail line.

Project planners on Thursday night hiked the estimated price tag to as high as $1.82 billion, up from the $1.67 billion they estimated just last week.

The even higher numbers reflect increased costs stemming from design changes to the original transit project — on top of the recently disclosed costs for solving a conflict between the LRT trains and nearby freight train traffic.

The Southwest project had originally been estimated to cost $1.25 billion.

The latest estimate troubled some members of a citizens panel when they were informed of it by the Metropolitan Council, the agency overseeing the project. Panel members worried that the rapidly rising costs would undermine the project when competing with other metro areas for federal transit money. Southwest proponents are counting on the federal government to pay half its cost.

Dealing with freight traffic was expected to account for up to $420 million of the increased costs — raising it from $1.25 billion to $1.67 billion. But the agency now says acquiring right of way for stations and park-and-rides and building LRT bridges is expected to add up to another $150 million. □

Pat Doyle

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