The Hiawatha Line completed its fifth year of service in 2009.
Work is also in progress on the four-block extension of the Hiawatha LRT line to the new Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis, scheduled to open November 14, 2009. The Hiawatha tracks will be adjacent to the new Target Field ballpark, and one level above the Northstar Commuter Rail tracks. Three new LRT vehicles entered service in 2007 as part of the Northstar extension. Two of the vehicles were funded by the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCHRA).
HCRRA was a capital investment partner in the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line. The first rail transit line in Minnesota in 50 years opened on June 26, 2004 from downtown Minneapolis to the Fort Snelling Station. The full line opened December 4, 2004 with the start of service from Fort Snelling to the Mall of America through the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. The 12-mile line is completely within Hennepin County.
HCRRA contributed $84.2 million toward design and construction of the Hiawatha Line, 11.8 percent of the $715.3 million total capital investment. HCRRA’s funding was part of the “local match;” that is, contributions from state and local sources which enabled the project to receive a $334.3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts Program. HCRRA also paid approximately 50 percent of the Hiawatha Line operating subsidy in partnership with Metro Transit from 2004 to 2008. Due to new state legislation, 50 percent of the operating grant for Hiawatha is funded by the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), a joint powers authority of Hennepin, Anoka, Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties.
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