Skip to main content

How the Center for Innovative Finance Support Office Does Business...

Project Profiles

Hiawatha Light Rail Transit


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT)

Metropolitan Council

Program Areas

Project DeliveryP3


Light Rail Transit


The Hiawatha Light Rail began partial service in June 2004 and fully opened in December 2004. It links downtown Minneapolis with Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America. The corridor is 12 miles in length, with 17 stations (and two others set to open at the end of 2009), and 24 light rail vehicles.

The project utilized two separate design-build contracts: one for light rail vehicles, and one to place rail, signal, and communication equipment along the alignment.

Although design-build contracts are used for most of the LRT route, Metropolitan Airport Commission officials opted on a design-bid-build procurement for the two 7,400 foot airport tunnels underneath MSP International. This decision was based on the risk of tunneling below two runways and building two underground stations.


$715.3 million

Funding Sources

Federal Grants

  • $334.3 million FTA Section 5309 New Starts
  • $39.9 million Federal Transit Capital Grant
  • $49.8 million Federal Surface Transportation Program and Congestion Mitigation Air Quality

State Grants

  • $100.0 million State of Minnesota
  • $20.1 million Minnesota Department of Transportation

Local Grants

  • $84.2 million Hennepin County
  • $87.0 million Metropolitan Airports Commission Federal, State, and Local grants

Project Delivery / Contract Method

2 Design-build procurements

1 Design-bid-build procurement

Private Partner


  • LRT vehicles - Bombardier
  • Rail/Systems - Granite Construction Inc, with Parsons Transportation Group, Maple Grove, C.S. McCrossen and Edwards and Kelcey

Project Advisors / Consultants

Airport Tunnel

  • Design - HNTB
  • Construction - Joint venture of Obayashi Corporation and Johnson Brothers Corporation



Duration / Status

Partial opening June 2004; full revenue service December 2004

Financial Status



  • Combination of multiple federal funding sources and multiple state and local match sources.
  • Innovative mix of design-build and design-bid-build procurements.

Related Links / Articles

Metro Transit

Metropolitan Council


Mary Bogie
Chief Financial Officer
Metropolitan Council
Tel: (651) 602-1359

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
To view PDF files download the Adobe Acrobat Reader®