Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hmm... Guess the Met Council and the Federal Transit Authority are "Unscientific"?

From a blanket email by University of Minnesota Research Vice President, Timothy Mulcahy:

Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 1:04 PM

In a recent mailing from Vice President Kathleen O’Brien, you heard about the Record of Decision that was recently issued by the Federal Transit Administration and the Metropolitan Council’s adequacy determination for the project. Vice President O’Brien also outlined the unresolved issues for which decisions remain to be made. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read the status report, you can view it here.

The University remains committed to public transit and the success of the CCLRT project, but there must be effective, scientifically proven solutions that protect the University’s research mission. Please take this opportunity to write your mayor and/or county commissioner. Their contact information is below, along with sample talking points that you can use as a starting point for your own letter.

Talking points

  • Note that you are a Minneapolis or St. Paul resident.
  • Explain the sensitivity of your research/your research ties to the U/the value of your research to the state and its citizens.
  • State that you are asking for their support of proven, scientifically sound solutions that will provide necessary protections to your research.
  • Ask them to support the University in its efforts to secure a mitigation plan that properly protects research.
Dr. Mulcahy:

This is a curious combination of innuendo and business as usual. If you look carefully at the documents available on the Met Council site it is pretty clear that the FTA did not bite on the ginned up support solicited from the U of M by so-called stakeholders. In fact we look ridiculous with a large number of letters of support copied slavishly from a template.

It is particularly disturbing to me to hear this "proven, scientifically sound solutions" business. As a scientist you should be ashamed of signing your name to such a statement. Please explain what you mean by this. Are you accusing the FTA of not providing "scientifically sound solutions" to this problem? By my reading of the ROD it seems that they have approved of the environmental remediations proposed by the Met Council. Have I misinterpreted something here?

Once again I recommend to you that you outline the financial consequences for remediation at the U of the route and construction methods accepted by the FTA for this project. Asking for a blank check is simply unacceptable.

Why is this so difficult?

Let's grow up and face facts. And then let's work to make the central corridor light rail route a success. The longer you keep this up, the less sympathy you are going to have on the remediation matter.


Bill Gleason

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