In 2002 and again in 2017, some ardent supporters of light rail pushed for a feasibility study of a line to run from Savage to St. Louis Park. Conveniently, the Dan Patch freight rail line runs over that exact same route. Despite spending $400,000 in 2002 and another $30,000 in 2017, local legislators and residents did not support the initiative.
In 2019, it is rising from the dead again.
MN House Rep. Hunter Cantrell (DFL-Savage), Steve Elkins (DFL-Bloomington), and Brad Tabke (DFL-Shakopee) have co-sponsored HF1783 to authorize a rail transitway feasibility study.
As we reported in our newsletter of July 31, 2017, the Dan Patch Line is an 80-year old single-track freight line that runs from Northfield to Savage. It crosses the Minnesota River into Bloomington and runs north along the east side of Hyland Park. It continues north through Edina to St Louis Park, staying west of Highway 100.
Freight traffic will continue on this single line, and will likely increase. To reduce costs from earlier estimates, any commuter trains would have to run on the same track, without an increase in right-of-way, over 14 same-grade road crossings, with unique cars that cannot operate on the other existing light rail tracks.
To read more background on why the Edina residents pictured above came out in 2017 in opposition to commuter light rail on that track, CLICK HERE.
Residents who live along the line or commute over any of those same-grade road crossings are urged to let their congressional members know of their concerns about the futility of authorizing another feasibility study.