The White House announced plans to expedite the approval process for the Southwest Light Rail Transit, a project that is expected to ease traffic in the Twin Cities metro area.

Officials with the federal Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration expect to complete the permit and review process for the $1.25 billon dollar project by November 2014, shaving several months off the original target date.

The Southwest Light Rail Transit project will shuttle residents and commuters between downtown Minneapolis and the area's southwest suburbs by adding more than 15 miles of new track along with new stations and park-and-ride lots. The new line would link Target Field on the eastern end and the Eden Prairie Center Mall on the western end.

The project would also share track with the Central Corridor light rail and provide a direct line from Minneapolis' southwest suburbs to downtown St. Paul and the state Capitol.

The expedited approval process comes as a result of President Barack Obama's We Can't Wait initiative, which aims to streamline the permit and review process for major infrastructure projects.

The Southwest light rail line is expected to open to riders in 2017 or 2018.

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