green line train viewed from above

Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority is charged with making our transit vision a reality, helping to ensure regional mobility into the future.

Light rail and bus rapid transit are essential pieces of our county transportation network. Hennepin County envisions an efficient, fully built-out transit system that works with roads, bridges, bikeways and walkways.

Benefits of transit

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Supports population growth

The Twin Cities metro area is expected to add another 700,000 people by 2040. More people mean greater transportation demand on an already stressed system.

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Provides mobility options

Millennials and baby boomers, the largest workforce and population segments, want access to reliable, affordable transit options, as do seniors and people with disabilities.

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Fosters economic growth

Transit attracts major employers, new businesses and investments, and helps organizations recruit and retain a talented workforce from across the region.

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Helps ease road congestion

Limited resources will fund road and highway maintenance, not expansion. Transit moves more people, more efficiently, and increases the capacity of the current road network for those who need to drive.

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Connects people to jobs

Existing or proposed transitways serve 11 of Minnesota's 17 Fortune 500 company headquarters.

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Reduces environmental impacts

Light rail systems produce 62% less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than an average single-occupancy vehicle, improving air quality and benefitting the health of residents and the environment.

Learn more about transit planning in Hennepin County


green line passing through dinkytown

Credit: Metro Transit

Hennepin County, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority and our transit funding partners have made significant investments in transitways that provide quick, convenient, economical access to jobs, schools, medical facilities and entertainment areas in the county.

Hennepin County-funded transitways

Up and running

Next to build

Under study

  • 1 additional transitway (modern streetcar recommended): Riverview

See Metropolitan Council’s full list of transit projects


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Hennepin County and the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority are committed to smart transit planning and investments that serve the county’s residents and businesses.

25.2 million rides

Taken on the METRO Blue and Green lines in 2019. Twenty-eight percent of all transit rides in 2019, excluding Metro Mobility, were taken on the Blue and Green LRT lines.

375,000 jobs

Near existing and planned LRT stations on the METRO Blue and Green lines, and planned Southwest and Bottineau LRT line extensions.

2.7 billion dollars

Of new development, not including stadiums, in Hennepin County near existing METRO Blue and Green line stations, with major investment continuing along the planned line extensions.

Signature achievements beyond the rails

Target Field Station

Serves nearly 500 trains each day while welcoming culture and community through public gathering spaces, cutting-edge environmental features and bike amenities.

Learn more about Target Field Station

Hennepin County Community Works

Partners with cities, other organizations and communities to build long-term value around transitways through housing, jobs and placemaking.

Learn more about Community Works


train at government center plaza station

Transit projects that serve Hennepin County have been funded through a combination of local, state and federal dollars. With state support decreasing, reliable and flexible local funding is now more important than ever. 

Funding covers capital costs to build transit lines and also operating costs to run the lines.


Typical funding of a new line

infographic showing the breakdown for transit funding. 40 percent from Hennepin County Sales tax, 10 percent from the Regional Railroad Authority property tax, and 50% Federal funding

Hennepin County sales tax

The county’s half-cent transportation sales tax and $20 excise tax on new car sales, effective October 1, 2017, replace a previous quarter-cent sales tax and similar excise tax by the county for the now-dissolved Counties Transit Improvement Board (PDF). Annual revenue could be as much as $125 million initially for key transit projects.  

See the sales and use transportation tax implementation plan (PDF)

Regional Railroad Authority property tax

The 2020 railroad authority budget is $40.2 million with a property tax levy of $30 million.

See the 2020 Regional Railroad Authority budget (PDF)

Regional Railroad Authority

train at hiawatha station

Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority was established in 1980 to preserve, improve and implement local rail service in the county. It has been key to expanding regional transit options and driving the vision for a complete network of successful transitways.

The railroad authority has been a leader in recent major transit improvement projects:

  • Purchasing land and old rail corridors to make the METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha), METRO Green Line (Central Corridor) and the Midtown Greenway a reality
  • Preserving options for the METRO Green Line Extension (Southwest) and METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau) alignments
  • Helping to get the Northstar commuter rail line up and running

Other activities

The railroad authority currently owns 55 miles of former railroad corridors for potential future transit use. In the interim, recreational trails have been constructed on all 55 miles – increasing transportation and recreational opportunities for residents. These trails are maintained by the City of Minneapolis or Three Rivers Park District.

Although it is a legally separate entity, the railroad authority’s activities are integrated with Hennepin County projects and initiatives. It works closely with other agencies including the Metropolitan Council, Metro Transit, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and Hennepin County cities.

Learn more about Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority

Transit funding partners

Collaboration between the railroad authority, other agencies and a variety of public and nonprofit partners promotes transit development.

Contact us

Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority