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The University will use all appropriate means... (Light Rail)

Hold our breath? Stamp our feet?

From a blanket email from the University of Minnesota Legislative Network:

Central Corridor LRT Update

The Metropolitan Council, the governmental agency in charge of the project, in late June submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), detailing the potential impacts of the Central Corridor light rail transit (CCLRT) project along its proposed route.

While a strong advocate of public transit and supporter of the CCLRT project, the University has raised concerns about the use of Washington Avenue at grade since planning for the CCLRT began in 2001. The University has stated on numerous occasions that its fundamental objective is to identify effective solutions - based on sound science - that will move the project forward while protecting the University's public mission and resources from potentially serious degradation.

In late July, over 170 University supporters sent letters of concern to the FTA asking them to protect U research along the CCLRT proposed route. These letters, along with the University's own comment letter, became part of the FEIS that was reviewed by the FTA. On August 19, the FTA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the CCLRT project. The FTA made no significant modifications to the FEIS in the ROD, despite the University's and supporters' letters. The ROD constitutes the federal government's determination that the FEIS meets all the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and approves the environmental mitigations identified in the FEIS for the project, as submitted by the Met Council.

The University will continue to work with the CCLRT project staff and the project partners (Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Minneapolis, and St. Paul) to reach agreement on identifying scientifically proven solutions that will protect the large investment of tax dollars in the University's research infrastructure. However, the University will use all appropriate means to protect its research. As the situation unfolds, we will continue to update you.

A few brief comments.

I hope the members of the legislative network took the time to examine the documents available on the Met Council's web site. The U's effort to drum up 170 letters was almost laughable. The solicitation on the web site was included in the FTA response. The awkward form letter showed up multiple times as did some pretty pointless arguments about motherhood and apple pie. This kind of rote repetition of the same inaccurate message actually made the situation worse.

After the disgraceful foot dragging behavior of this administration the threat at this point, to not hand over Washington Avenue, is absurd.

Why don't we just make a bad situation worse?

How about a little display of common sense and leadership in this matter, President Bruininks?


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