Two Letters to the Editor Critical of SWLRT

What particularly bothers this voter — and I would suspect many others — is “legislation by exhaustion.” The recent decision of multiple governmental agencies to patch together funding for the Southwest light rail line is a scenario we have witnessed in the past. The inevitable moving forward of this project follows multiple legislative sessions in which the Legislature voted against it or found it without merit to act upon it. The previous most glaring examples of this are the Twins and Vikings stadiums. In each case, professional politicians who had made premature promises kept these projects alive in the face of the democratic process. No, no, not worth considering, no, not worth considering, then, magically, the project moves forward.

The unelected Metropolitan Council is funding part of the Southwest line in a way its chairman said it would never do. That’s dishonest. The Hennepin County Board has blindly favored Southwest light rail despite the rational opposition of environmental and routing concerns and even as capital costs have swollen to $2 billion. “Legislation by exhaustion” disregards the democratic process and is an affront to every voter.

Rick Greenfield, Minnetonka

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It is almost amusing to see the photo rendering, which has run on these pages, of the cute little Southwest light-rail train crossing a modern low-profile bridge in an idyllic setting. Nothing could be further from the truth. The new bridge will have to accommodate freight rail, light rail coming and going, plus biking and walking paths.

Because of the developing concerns over liability, each of these functions will have to be separated one from the other, and the entire area will have to be fenced or otherwise sealed off from the general public. Beyond the bridge, the corridor itself will likely be fenced to protect the lines from wildlife (deer), pets and people. It’s going to be a lot of wires, cables, fencing, lights, whistles and blast walls. Nothing like the cute little pictures the Metropolitan Council sends out.

Jerry Van Amerongen, Minneapolis