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SWLRT hurdles still to climb

Gov. Dayton and Rep. Thissen would have us believe that Republicans are being pig-headed in their opposition to funding the SWLRT project. Actually, what’s becoming clear is that the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce isn’t thinking clearly while supporting the construction of the Southwest Light Rail Transit project. What clear-thinking organization supports a project that can’t be built before Sept. 17, 2017?

If that date doesn’t mean anything to you, that’s because the DFL and the Twin Cities Media haven’t reported that that’s the starting date for the trial of whether the Met Council went too far. That’s likely the least of SWLRT’s problems. The law firm of Felhaber and Larson was retained by the Calhoun-Isles Condominium Association because the “current plan for the construction of the Southwest Light Rail Transit Line provides for the construction of a shallow tunnel which will be located literally within two feet of the exterior walls of the Association’s high-rise structure, as close as six inches to the foundation of the Association’s parking ramp and within 43 feet of a row of single-family townhomes.”

What part of that description sounds like the SWLRT is anything close to being built? Seriously, that sounds like a start-over point. That’s like the Met Council is saying that they don’t care that the Calhoun-Isles Condominium Association’s buildings are in jeopardy. It’s like the Met Council is flipping the Association the proverbial finger. Would any private property owner sit idly by while this happened to their property? The odds of a private property owner signing off on this project are worse than the odds I’ll get hit with lightning while holding tonight’s winning lottery ticket.

It isn’t because my odds of getting hit with lightning are that high or that my odds of winning tonight’s lottery are high, either. It’s that the odds of a private property owner signing off on this project without massive monetary compensation is exactly nonexistent.

This project needs to be totally rerouted. There’s no chance the Environmental Impact Study for this part of the project will be approved. Couple the Calhoun-Isles Condominium Association’ potential lawsuit with the existing lawsuit. Factor in the FTA’s reluctance to fund SWLRT until the lawsuits are settled. Throw these things together and it’s easy to question Gov. Dayton’s prioritization of the SWLRT project.

Speaker Daudt is right that the Met Council’s legal tactics have pretty much failed whenever they’ve been tried. The potential lawsuit by the Calhoun-Isles Condominium Association by itself could demolish the SWLRT project. This isn’t just about public negotiations. It’s also about the details of these potential lawsuits.

Let’s remember that some of these lawsuits are being brought by staunch DFL activists. These aren’t litigation-foolish people. These activists are skilled at dragging out litigation for years. It isn’t unreasonable to think that these lawsuits won’t be settled before we elect Gov. Dayton’s successor in 2018.

Authored By Let Freedom Ring Blog