MN-DOT is gearing up to have two of the Bus Rapid Transit projects partially completed in the next few years.
First on the list is the Cedar Avenue Busway. MN-DOT is going to add a dedicated, seperately colored bus lanes alongside either edge of Cedar, as it goes South from the Mall of America. (North of that, I'm not so sure.) They'd also build or expand transit centers and stations at Apple Valley, Lakeville, and Cedar Grove.
After that, they'd gradually add stations and park & ride lots along the route. It looks pretty slick, but the big hurdle is adding stations in areas with sufficient density.
At the House hearing on the topic, Rep. Alice Hausmann (DFL - St. Paul) asked about the possibility of turning the busway into a LRT corridor once it's already built. While the MN-DOT employee said this was feasible, the committee chair, Rep. Mary Liz Holberg (R - Lakeville), replied that the two hurdles to building a train along Cedar Avenue were the bridge crossing over the Minnesota River and community resistance in South Bloomington. Apparently a new bridge would have to be built in order for a train to run along this route, and that would be expensive.
As for South Bloomington, why are they against an LRT line through their neighborhood? Do they love the smell of busses?
The other thing in the works for the next few years is a BRT station at 35-W and 46th Street. Dedicated bus/carpool lanes would also run from 494 to 42nd St., with park & ride lots in the South-West suburbs. The entire project will only cost about $6M.