(AUDIO) Franken on Southwest LRT: ‘It Should Happen’

The U.S. senator said Minnesotans must still continue advocating for the project.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is optimistic the Southwest Light Rail Transit project will be completed, but he said Minnesotans still need to show their support.

The Obama Administration announced Monday that the Southwest Light Rail project is one of two projects in the country that will be expedited under the "We Can't Wait" initiative. That initiative aims to speed up the various processes required to get a big project off the ground.

In a brief interview with Patch on Wednesday at the Eisenhower Community Center, Franken said his role under the expedited process will be to continue to push for the project.

Even with the move to the expedited process, Minnesota faces tough political fights over the funding its expected to provide. Neither the state Legislature nor the Department of Employment and Economic Development backed the project. Dayton eventually allocated $2 million to keep LRT moving forward—a fraction of the $25 million Southwest supporters hoped to get from last year’s bonding bill and the $125 million total state requirement for the project.

“We just have to meet the funding requirements and continue to advocate for it and get on me and (U.S. Sen.) Amy (Klobuchar) and our House members to advocate for it. But it should happen,” Franken said.

Listen to Franken’s comments in the audio above.


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Daryl Fryxell October 04, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Franken is in dreamland. This is another ridiculously wasteful idea for spending our tax dollars. Light rail has failed every where it is tried. Very few will ride it and those that are unwilling to pay the true cost of the fare, thus requiring taxpayers to subsidize forever. Stop the delusions and cancel this nonsense NOW.
Chris October 09, 2012 at 07:32 PM
If you keep saying it, it will be true. Right? There are lots of wasteful ideas, light rail is not one of them. I remember leaving Reagan's Inauguration ceremony and standing for 15 minutes on the platform to reach a train (that's 15 minutes to move 30 feet, it was so crowded). Yep, nobody was using the Metro. Nobody ever uses trains. Except in New York, Chicago, DC, Boston...nowhere. Except London, Paris, Moscow, Madrid..nope, nowhere. And I forgot- roads are free. They do not require constitutional amendments to fund them, or Federal and State aid. And cars are free too, you certainly do not have to buy one- it just appears in your driveway. No maintenance, insurance, fuel, parking fees. If you have a car, it costs nothing. Only trains are expensive.
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