In 2001, the Legislature directed the Office of the Legislative Auditor to prepare a complete accounting of all federal, state, and local costs of the Hiawatha Avenue Light Rail Transit Line. This is our second report on project costs. Our previous report, dated March 1, 2002, identified total expenditures of approximately $210 million through December 31, 2001. At that time, the project was estimated to be 32 percent complete. As of December 31, 2002, actual expenditures were approximately $409 million and the project was estimated to be 67.4 percent complete.
To conduct this review, we gained an understanding of the project and its related accounting records, interviewed individuals involved with the project, and reviewed selected supporting documentation for project costs. However, we did not conduct a complete audit of project costs.
The Metropolitan Council, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, and the cities of Minneapolis and Bloomington have cooperated in the planning, design, and construction of the Hiawatha Corridor Light Rail Transit Line. In January 2001, the Federal Transit Administration approved a Full Funding Grant Agreement and committed $334,277,500 to the project. Total approved funding for the project was $675,409,818. The Hiawatha Corridor Light Rail Transit Line will operate on the Hiawatha/Trunk Highway 55 Corridor, linking downtown Minneapolis, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and the Mall of America in Bloomington. According to the Hiawatha Project Office, the project is proceeding on schedule and on budget. Initial Revenue Service from downtown Minneapolis to Fort Snelling is scheduled to commence April 3, 2004. Full Revenue Service, as identified in the Full Funding Grant Agreement, from downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America is set for December 31, 2004.