Sunday, May 11, 2008

LRT battles
The U's Memo of Misunderstanding

From the Strib:

The University of Minnesota's preference for a northern alignment through campus and a memo that the U sent to the Federal Transit Administration in March are jeopardizing the project's application for federal funding, according to Council Chairman Peter Bell and others involved in planning the line.

"My request of the U is that they just be very clear on what it is they want," Bell said Thursday. "If they want the northern alignment and are willing to delay or perhaps lose the project, they should be honest about that."

In the memo, the U raised concerns about the line's Washington Avenue routing and argued that the law requires consideration of the northern alignment. The university is funding a study of that alignment, but Bell says changing the route would delay the project by at least a year and increase the cost, and he called on the U to retract the memo.

"I think we behaved in the team spirit," Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega said Thursday, referring to concessions that east metro officials made over the winter. "The University of Minnesota just destroyed it."


momo said...

And the Senate endorsed the northern alignment, drat them!

Mr. B. said...

Hola, Momo,

It is kind of sad, because they had basically no justification for doing this. It would have been nice to have some sort of public debate about the matter.

I have yet to see anyone who knows anything about urban planning say anything bad about light rail, at grade, along Washington Avenue with a pedestrian mall.

We seem to have to diametrically opposite views on the financing. The U claims that Northern Route will be 15 Mil or so cheaper than the Washington Avenue route. The Met Council claims that the Wash. Ave. route will be cheaper. How are we to decide?

The university knows the trick of buying consultants quite well, hence my skepticism about their numbers.