ST. PAUL, MN – Today, the Metropolitan Council released its staff recommendations for the Southwest Light Rail Transit project. Governor Mark Dayton released this statement following the Metropolitan Council’s announcement.
“The planners at the Metropolitan Council have issued their recommendations for the routing of the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) extension of the Green Line. Those recommendations will now be reviewed by the Corridor Management Committee, the Council’s Transportation Committee and then by the full Metropolitan Council, whose members will vote on a final plan. If approved, that plan will then go before the affected cities for ‘municipal consent.’ Thus, today’s staff recommendations are by no means the final word on this project.
“Last October, I asked the Metropolitan Council to delay its imminent decision on the SWLRT’s routing to permit greater citizen participation in the decision-making process and to obtain analyses by independent experts on key issues. While this additional public engagement and expert analysis added marginally to the total cost of the entire project, I believe they were absolutely necessary. I would call the costs of additional public participation ‘the Cost of Democracy.’ The additional expert reviews were likewise necessary to assure citizens that all options had been carefully considered.
“Routing a transportation project of this size through long-established and densely-populated urban areas will inevitably cause unwelcomed disruptions to the lives of numerous citizens. I deeply regret that those disruptions appear to be unavoidable. I have stated previously my belief that this project’s early planners should have foreseen years ago that this inevitable bottleneck would cause these intractable problems. As long as I am Governor, I will insist that the proponents of future public transit projects make those assessments and disclose them at the beginning, not the end, of the planning process.”