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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.

guy davidson November 27, 2012 at 10:57 PM
follow the money...someone big in Kenwood doesnt want it there...SLP loses - he gains.
G WAYNE November 30, 2012 at 03:33 AM
IF LRT uses BNSF from Big Lake to MPLS why can't LRT run along side OR on TCWRR track. There used to be 6 rails west thru Hopkins. The right of way currently has a bike trail and 1 rail. I heard of a housing obstruction on the east(Kenwood). Buy the development, return it to rail right of way.
Rick December 03, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Yep. Liberal paradise, that thar Golden Valley. Yet when it comes to a project that libs just love to tout, everyone seems to become "nimby's." Can't have your cake and eat it too folks. This as usual just reeks of left wing hypocrisy. LRT is running into the same issue in SLP. Everyone thinks trains are such a great idea... Until they're in their backyard. And does everyone think BNSF is letting the MetCouncil just use their rail lines for free??? Hardly. How many people know BNSF engineers and conductors are operating the trains on the Big Lake line? Face it. No matter how many trains you want, people will not get out of their cars. I used to live in LA where the Riverside train split the 12 lane I-10 corridor. Every morning traffic was at a standstill. Why don't we spend our money on something more prudent? Everyone complains about the condition of the roads. Does anyone know how much money is pilferred from the gas tax at the pump and put into light rail?

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