BNSF goes silent on Metro Blue Line extension plans

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Metro Blue Line extension talks with BNSF have hit a snag.
Metropolitan Council

Some are wondering if another person needs to die before the Metro Blue Line extension in Minneapolis area is complete. According to Robbinsdale Council Member George Selman, nine people have passed on the Community Advisory Committee since talks for an extension began.

In 2017, the Metropolitan Council put together a virtual flyover video showing the updated route, but issues with BNSF have put a wrench in any kickoff plans. The Metro Blue Line would run alongside 8 miles of track owned by BNSF, but the Class 1 company says that alignment raises too many safety concerns. Officials have been working with BNSF for more than a decade to try to launch the Blue Line extension, but in 2015 Hennepin County purchased a piece of land that was needed for Canadian Pacific to run trains on the BNSF track. Hennepin County says the land was needed for emergency vehicles to have continued access, but many believe the acquisition touched a nerve with BNSF.

Local officials are now urging state lawmakers to work with BNSF in the hopes of restarting Blue Line extension talks. The 13-mile light rail line is supposed to open in 2024.

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