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Southwest Light Rail Transit to benefit Park

Light rail provides transportation for those in need

Isabelle Becker

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Despite high costs, the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) going through St. Louis Park will provide transportation to jobs for people who can’t or don’t want to drive. According to the Metropolitan Council, employment in the Southwest Corridor is estimated to increase by 22 percent in the next 18 years, and the light rail would help transport employees to their jobs.

According to the Metropolitan Council website, the project requires the acquisition of 154 parcels of private property for building, but they would not acquire houses, condos or apartments. This way, families will not be forced to move out of their houses for the light rail to be built.

Not only will the Southwest LRT help provide transportation for people who work for businesses near the stops, it will also create jobs in the construction of the light rail. According to the Metropolitan Council, the project estimates employment for 7,500 people from 2017 to 2020. These jobs will help people make money, benefiting the economy by creating more consumers for other businesses, and employing previously unemployed people.

According to Metropolitan Council news, the Southwest Project Office and the Metropolitan Council will offer 10 weeks of free training, the first round of which started April 17 and was designed by unions, for people interested in working on construction projects. They will then get an apprenticeship before working on other construction projects, which could lead to working on the LRT construction. This program will not only benefit workers of the LRT construction, but will train them for other construction jobs, so they would also be able to get jobs after the LRT is complete.

The LRT provides an alternative transportation to driving a single person driving a car. According to an update on the Southwest LRT project from October, using the light rail emits 99 percent less carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons per mile and 62 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than driving alone would emit. Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change, so reducing emissions proves beneficial to the environment.

In addition to lowering carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions, the LRT also promotes walking. According to the update in October, the light rail will increase walking on average by 1.2 miles. Not only will this help the environment by reducing driving, but it will also improve personal health by keeping people active.

Overall, the LRT has a positive impact on the community, both economically and environmentally despite the large cost. Not only would people in St. Louis Park benefit from the LRT, but other people in the metro area would as well by being able to use the Southwest LRT.

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Southwest Light Rail Transit to benefit Park