The following letter-to-the-editor from Minneapolis Resident Steven R. Goldsmith was published in the July 4, 2015 edition of the Star Tribune.
Salvaged by cost-cutting? No, it’s a Pyrrhic victory
The Metropolitan Council staff may have saved $250 million in projected costs (“Southwest light-rail plan salvaged by cost-cutting,” July 2), but the ridership figures, which were marginal to begin with, will surely suffer with the elimination of park-and-rides as well as high-volume stations in Eden Prairie, while three in Minneapolis that would be next to useless due to a variety of accessibility concerns are retained. And the new proposed end of the line in Eden Prairie is already the hub for what is now a popular bus service that would still offer much faster transit to downtown. Also not factored in: The supplemental draft environmental-impact statement raised many substantive issues largely related to destruction of the environment in the Kenilworth corridor, and mitigating these concerns could well cost more than the proposed savings.
The Met Council would be well advised to delay applying for federal funding until accurate ridership figures are available and all costs are fully assessed. This cannot happen by Aug. 3. Given these concerns, together with pending legal challenges and the uncertain status of state and local funding, a favorable scoring by the Federal Transit Administration on this funding cycle would seem at best uncertain.
Steven R. Goldsmith, Minneapolis