Mayor Rybak hails success of Hiawatha LRT
Celebration marks 5 th anniversary of Minnesota’s first light rail line
June 26, 2009 (MINNEAPOLIS, MN) Mayor R.T. Rybak today hailed the success of Minnesotas first light rail line, the Hiawatha Line, that runs between downtown Minneapolis, MSP International Airport and the Mall of America. Today marks the 5 th anniversary of the opening of the line.
"We have seen clearly the success of this first light rail line wildly exceed our expectations," Mayor Rybak said. "Now it’s time to continue building on that success by adding the Central Corridor light rail line between Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota and Saint Paul. Then, we need to keep moving forward on other transit lines to serve the increasing transportation and economic needs of our fast-growing region."
When the Hiawatha light-rail line opened, it was projected to have 24,400 rides daily by 2020. In 2008, the Hiawatha line already had around 30,500 rides each weekday, 20 percent higher than expected, according to Metropolitan Council Chair Peter Bell. Light-rail ridership exceeded expectations, showing that residents welcome and embrace rail public transportation.
Light-rail has also benefitted local sporting events, airport travel and housing development. Approximately 1.6 million light-rail tickets have been sold at the Humphrey and Lindbergh airport terminals, over 2 million rides have been recorded for Minnesota Twins home games and 6,710 new housing units have been built along the line.
State Representative Alice Hausman, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin and Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead spoke along with Mayor Rybak and Chair Bell at today’s celebration event, held at the Hiawatha Line Government Plaza Station in downtown Minneapolis.
Published Jun. 26, 2009