Monday, May 26, 2008

Friends, Regents, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ear

From the Pioneer Press:

We urge the Board of Regents to meet Tuesday with Peter Bell, head of the Metropolitan Council and the man responsible for keeping the line on track, to hear his compelling case for Washington Avenue. To this point, everybody else involved has listened carefully to the university's concerns. It's important that the U return the favor.

We appreciate due diligence. But we note that the U's own study, and the conclusions of most engineers, show that the Dinkytown Loop subtracts riders, threatens subsidized housing, requires new negotiations with railroads and brings hazardous waste sites into play.

The entire 11-mile line is threatened if university leaders put its heart off-limits.

Bell and the Met Council need to put the project into the final federal funding competition this fall. The U's delays could give the feds an excuse to say, "Sorry, Twin Cities — we'll send the money to Portland."

Bell is seeking an immediate meeting with the Regents. As a former Regent himself, and someone with a proven commitment to the institution, he sees the big picture. Professional courtesy alone — to say nothing of a need to understand how strong the case for Washington Avenue is — suggests the Regents should accept his offer.

The Central Corridor Management Committee is to meet Wednesday to make a recommendation on the Washington Avenue alignment. The full Met Council is scheduled to meet later that day to act on the recommendation. But the train, scheduled to start up in 2014, needs the U's support — now.

No comments: