Connect Blue Line Now! Coalition Visits Washington, DC
April 8, 2019
The Connect Blue Line Now! Coalition met with Minnesota representatives in Washington, DC to push for support of the METRO Blue Line Extension (BLRT). The Coalition includes City leaders from Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Crystal, New Hope, Golden Valley, and Robbinsdale who are united in making sure the project becomes a reality for the Northwest metropolitan area and the region.
The group also included members of the Blue Line Coalition, which represents community organizations inclusive of communities of color, immigrants, and refugees, people of different abilities, lower wealth families, aging, and transit-dependent populations along the Blue Line Corridor. They met with:
- Senator Amy Klobuchar’s staff
- Senator Tina Smith
- Congressman Dean Phillips
- Congresswoman Ilhan Omar
- Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s staff
- Congressman Tom Emmer’s staff
- Congresswoman Angie Craig’s staff
- Matt Welbes, Federal Transit Administration Executive Director and other FTA staff
Allina Health Representative Alison Pence addressed the need for better access to Allina’s Courage Kenny Rehabilitation facility and how the Golden Valley Road station will be a huge benefit.
“That station will be close enough to the facility to allow for patients to eventually use transit as an exclusive replacement for mobility buses. There are 6,000 patients seen at the facility each year, and having transit options is a key priority for future services,” said Pence.
North Hennepin Community College (NHCC) President Barbara McDonald, also on the trip, echoed a similar benefit for students and staff.
“The Blue Line extension would be huge for NHCC and its 10,000 students, who are increasingly from immigrant communities and emerging constituencies. I support the line and am willing to collaborate as needed,” said McDonald.
The Connect Blue Line Now! Coalition, will continue to partner with Metropolitan Council Chair Nora Slawik, Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, and other local leaders, to enhance quality of life for the communities throughout the Blue Line Extension Corridor.
“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.” said Nelima Sitate Munene, a representative of the Blue Line Coalition.
METRO Blue Line Extension
The METRO Blue Line Extension will operate from Downtown Minneapolis through North Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park, also serving the adjacent communities of New Hope and Brooklyn Center. It continues to be a priority project for the northwestern cities of the metro area.
The line will have 11 new stations in addition to the Target Field Station, where it will continue as the METRO Blue Line, providing one-seat rides to Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport and the Mall of America. It will connect Minneapolis and the region’s northwest communities with existing and future LRT on the METRO Green Line, bus rapid transit on the METRO Orange Line and METRO Red Line, the Northstar commuter rail line, and local and express bus routes.
The total estimated cost of the project is $1.5 billion, with funding from a combination of federal, state, and local sources.