ST. PAUL – The Federal Transit Administration has agreed to help pay for the Hiawatha Avenue light-rail project, leaving the only one potential stumbling block for the state’s first light-rail line – a 60-day Congressional review. The FTA has sent Minnesota’s application for a full funding grant agreement committing $334 million to the $625 million project to Congress. The line would link downtown Minneapolis, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington.

The Minnesota legislature has specified that $100 million in state funding for the project will be rescinded if the federal agreement is not secured by Jan. 31. Contracts to build the line and the rail cars have been signed contingent upon receipt of the federal funds. In addition to the federal and state funding, the Hiawatha project’s overall budget includes money from Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. The Met Council will own and operate the line.

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