Steven R. Goldsmith’s Comments on Southwest Light Rail

The following letter-to-the-editor from Steven R. Goldsmith regarding SWLRT was published in the April 15, 2014 issue of the StarTribune:

Unacceptable Costs

The editorial portrays the conflict as one of regional development vs. “the interests of disgruntled property owners.” This is both inaccurate and unfair to those who have expended countless hours of public and private time on this proposal.

The core of the conflict is actually the integrity of the planning process for regional transit development and the proper observation of key regulatory activities. The Metropolitan Council recommendation violates a key tenet of the planning process for this line, which from Day One has been based on relocating freight out of the Kenilworth corridor. Further, it may have placed federal funding for this project in serious jeopardy by approving a plan quite different from the previously chosen “locally approved option,” which was fully vetted by an environmental-impact statement. Beyond that, the dispute is about the need to balance the developmental needs of the region with the imposition of potentially unacceptable costs not just on homeowners but on thousands of metro users of a wonderful urban amenity. Last, the editorial fails to mention that there has been a proposed solution for Kenilworth — the “deep tunnel” — which if submitted to and vetted by an environmental-impact statement would make all current conflict moot.

Steven R. Goldsmith, Minneapolis