SWLRT Under Siege: Lawsuits, Soaring Costs, Skeptical Funders

The following article by Mary Pattock has been published in the August edition of the Hill and Lake Press.

SWLRT Under Siege: Lawsuits, Soaring Costs, Skeptical Funders

On August 11 the lawsuit challenging the planned Southwest Light Rail route through the Kenilworth Corridor and the Chain of Lakes received a trial date: September 17, 2017.

As many HLP readers know, the suit claims that the Met Council violated the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) by deciding to run the light rail through the Kenilworth Corridor before analyzing less environmentally damaging alternatives as required by
NEPA. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in September, 2014, by the Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis.

If LPA wins the lawsuit, the Met Council will have to re-scope the project and conduct environmental impact studies on alternatives to the Kenilworth route, in order to provide public officials with sufficient information to make informed decisions about the project.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Steven Rau, assisting Chief Judge John Tunheim, who is in charge of the case, issued the order.

In recent weeks, LPA attorneys have been reviewing thousands of Met Council documents as part of the discovery phase of the lawsuit.

The Met Council had several times resisted surrendering the documents, arguing that LPA must wait to sue until after the agency took final action, and that LPA should make its case solely on public documents like agendas and minutes.

Last spring they asked for an order for protection to allow them to keep the documents secret, but Judge Tunheim denied the request

To continue reading, click on the link to the Hill and Lake Press