On My Decision to Vote Against Granting Municipal Consent to Southwest LRT
This was a tough decision to come to, because I strongly support transit. I strongly support light rail. In fact, I strongly support the Southwest LRT project in concept, and many of the details of the project as proposed. Our region needs to build out a network of high-quality transit options that will help us address climate change, increase commuter choice, fuel economic development, and more. This line will benefit my constituents, Minneapolis and the region. We are decades behind our peer cities in this work.
On the process: I think it’s clear by now that the process that the Met Council has followed on this project has been abysmal. Promise after promise was made to Minneapolis, and broken. Our consent to this alignment was explicitly contingent on the freight rail being relocated. Time after time, Minneapolis has been forced to compromise on a firmly held principle in order to prevent the project from failing completely. And this process has been bad to the end: the Council is being asked to give municipal consent before the final Environmental Impact Statement has been released. This is why it was so important that the Council adopted the staff direction Council Members Bender, Palmisano, Yang and myself worked on, authorizing the City Attorney’s office to begin litigation if the as-yet-unreleased SDEIS reveal unforeseen impacts to the water quality in the lakes, even if that means halting the LRT project.