Southwest LRT Typo Underestimates Co-location Costs by $100M
The error, which arose out of editing and formatting changes, does not change the conclusions of the project’s draft environmental impact statement.
Engineering consultants have identified a $100 million typo in a Southwest Light Rail Transit report that understates the cost of putting the Twin Cities & Western freight line in the same corridor as the light rail—an option known as “co-location.”
The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) listed the “professional services” cost of option 3A-1—the co-location alternative—as “$99,357 (in thousands).” That should have read “$199,357 (in thousands).”
The difference between the two figures is $100 million but does not alter the conclusions of the DEIS.
“While I'm dismayed that an error of this nature was made, we all think it's important to be transparent, to identify the error and make the correction immediately,” Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman wrote in an e-mail to Patch.
The overall capital costs were shown as $1,071,770 (in thousands) but should have read $1,171,770. The error also changed the per-mile capital costs from $65,352 to $71,449 (both in thousands).
A letter from the consultant, HDR Engineering Inc., blamed the mistake on editing and formatting that was done in response to Federal Transit Administration comments. Previous drafts included the correct numbers.
The consultant and staff met with St. Louis Park officials Monday morning to notify them of the error and have alerted the other entities involved in the project, as well.
The correction narrows the gap between the co-location option and the so-called “locally preferred alternative” that would reroute freight rail to a spur line in St. Louis Park. Residents there worry a freight rail reroute would bring additional, heavier freight traffic that would lower property values, disrupt nearby St. Louis Park High School and be more dangerous. Earlier this month, reroute opponents protested at a public hearing on the DEIS.
Under the corrected numbers, co-location is about $23 million cheaper than the freight rail reroute.