Thursday, April 1, 2010

Some Important Questions

for the Morrill Hall Gang

About Light Rail

Background. The University of Minnesota propaganda arm is in full swing. Apparently they have started up a pr campaign - supposedly grass roots. Thus an op-ed by VP#3/40 has appeared in the Daily as well as a piece by the U of M alumni association president in the Pioneer Press and a piece by the president himself, in a little free time he apparently took from minding the university's athletics business. Or maybe he didn't take the time. There are some curious similarities between his piece and the one by VP#3/40.

From the comments on VP #3/40's op-ed:

I am a former employee of the University, now retired. Knowing the campus, I have a few important questions here for Vice-President O'Brien and the Regents:

1) Are you aware that the transit buses and the trailer trucks running on the irregular surfaces of Washington Avenue are both multi-ton vehicles, and that the transit buses in particular have a heavier axle loading than the proposed light-rail vehicles; and that over the irregular paving the amount of vibrations they create are significantly higher than anything that can be produced by rubber-cushioned steel wheels running on all-welded smooth steel rails; and what are and where may we see the published results of the definitive studies made of these phenomena along Washington Avenue?

2) Do the high-sensitivity electronics get affected by nearby arc welding on neighboring construction sites or the passage of motor vehicles with improperly-operating ignition and electrical systems; do they affect (illegally, incidentally), or are they affected by, the presence of public safety, industrial workers', or transit bus and taxi radios operating along that same corridor; do those high-powered electronics cause any interference (illegally, by the way) to such communications and sensitive control apparatus as they pass the research labs; and what are and where may we see the published results of any definitive studies made of these matters on Washington Avenue?

3) Do you have and can you quote the results of serious, peer reviewed and published definitive studies involving the actual use of real light rail lines as to the radiated electrical patterns and the vibrations caused by their trains taken under circumstances identical to those found at the University, and showing by those studies that the supposed threats to the University's research are real and actual?

May I remind the Vice-President, the Regents, and the researchers at the University that proper proof requires reviewed, published, and accepted studies of any research project. Anything less portends to supposition and incomplete research. I have yet to see any such effort put into the University's arguments concerning the proposed light rail line. Without that basis, I reject the University's premise of severe interference with their research efforts as baseless supposition and fear-mongering.

Tom Fairbairn
Richfield, MN

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