Southwest LRT Notice of Decision
May 17, 2018
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has determined that the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA); Section 4(f) of the US Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (49 U.S.C. § 303 and 23 U.S.C. § 138); and related federal environmental statutes, regulations, and executive orders have been satisfied for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project (Project) modifications. The FTA issued an Amended Record of Decision which includes a Finding of No Significant Impact regarding the Project changes evaluated in the Southwest LRT Project Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) and Amended Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation dated February 2018. The Metropolitan Council as the Responsible Governmental Unit under the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act has determined the Project changes do not have the potential for significant environmental effects, and a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is not required.
These decisions are supported by the Amended Record of Decision (NEPA decision), Amended Final Section 4(f) Evaluation, and Findings of Fact and Conclusion (MEPA decision) documents available at https://metrocouncil.org/swlrt/environmental/sea. These documents include responses to comments received, through the public comment period, on the Supplemental Environmental Assessment.
The Amended ROD and Findings of Fact and Conclusions apply to the 10 design modifications to the Project that were identified during final design and permitting processes that required further analysis to determine potential changes to impacts or mitigation. As the project sponsor and potential recipient of FTA financial assistance for the Project, the Metropolitan Council (Council) served as the co-lead agency with FTA in conducting the environmental review process.
The FTA issued a Final EIS in May 2016 and ROD in July 2016 on the Southwest LRT Project. The decisions and findings in this Amended ROD are based on and incorporate the Project modifications as described in the Supplemental EA. The decisions and findings made in the May 2016 Final EIS and July 2016 ROD remain in effect, except where this Amended ROD expressly alters them.
About the Project:
The planned Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project (METRO Green Line Extension) will operate from downtown Minneapolis through the communities of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie, passing in close proximity to the city of Edina. The line will connect major activity centers in the region including downtown Minneapolis, Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, downtown Hopkins and the Opus/Golden Triangle employment area in Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Ridership in 2040 is forecasted at approximately 34,000 average weekday boardings. The project will interline with the METRO Green Line, which will provide a one-seat ride to destinations such as the University of Minnesota, state Capitol and downtown St. Paul. It will be part of an integrated system of transitways, including connections to the METRO Blue Line, the proposed METRO Blue Line Extension, the Northstar Commuter Rail line, a variety of major bus routes along the alignment, and proposed future transitway and rail lines. The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Southwest Corridor Management Committee, which includes commissioners from Hennepin County and the mayors of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie, provides advice and oversight. Funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration, Hennepin County, Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), state of Minnesota, and other project partners. The Southwest LRT Project website is www.swlrt.org