Minneapolis officials announced last week that the new Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line connecting downtown Minneapolis, downtown St. Paul and the University of Minnesota will begin operation June 14. It is Minnesota’s second light rail line, joining the Hiawatha line, which opened in 2004 and runs between Minneapolis, the Mall of America and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
According to the Metropolitan Council, the 11-mile, $957 million Green Line will feature 18 new stations, plus five shared with the Hiawatha Line along a mile of shared track. An end-to-end trip on the Green Line is expected to take about 40 minutes.
Metro Transit specifically chose the June 14 launch date in order to have a month to establish the new service before Minneapolis hosts the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July. The agency plans to offer free rides on all Metro Transit trains and buses for the entire opening weekend in June.
The Green Line was the center of significant controversy throughout its four years of construction, including several lawsuits from business owners, the University of Minnesota and Minnesota Public Radio. These parties were concerned about the impact that construction and eventual train operation could have on their operations.
At the same time, $1.7 billion has already been invested in new developments along the Green Line. Metro Transit expects to have 40,000 weekday boardings by 2030.