Hodges pushes for Minneapolis transit investments, including streetcars

by Meara Cummings

Transportation in Minneapolis provides residents with the opportunity to get from point A to point B more easily.

Mayor Betsy Hodges is making transit investments a major priority for the city, according to an article recently published in the Star Tribune.

She told the Strib that focusing on “livability factors” such as a well-organized transportation network can help Minneapolis attract more residents, especially young people.

The Nicollet Central Streetcar Project is among the new transportation projects in the works. The project was approved in October by the Minneapolis City Council, according to the Minneapolis Department of Public Works. A study found that the modern streetcar was the most preferred means of transportation by local residents due to its ability to “attract more riders” and “greater capacity to catalyze and support economic development.” 

MinnPost reported the starter line for the 9.2 mile Nicollet-Central streetcar project was approved by the Transportation and Public Works Committee in September. Though the streetcar project capital cost is much greater than the alternative proposal of enhanced bus service — $94 million compared to $393 million — supporters say its worth comes in its increased ridership, potential for economic development and strong public support.

“Streetcars are about economic development,” Hodges told MinnPost. “They’re about growing our population, they’re about growing the services that go to that population and they’re about growing our property tax base.”

Plans for the project are still in the works, but the initial green light has been given and the streetcar project is off to a rolling start.