Central Corridor light rail a classic con

The Central Corridor light-rail line is about money, not compromise.

Sheldon Gitis

At the center of the Central Corridor between Minneapolis and St. Paul, University Avenue runs in front of KSTP, and an existing transit right-of-way runs behind KSTP. The obvious place to put the light-rail line is behind KSTP on the existing transitway, rather than in front of KSTP in the middle of the street. Connecting the two downtowns, the University of Minnesota, the State Capitol complex and the Midway area with rapid transit makes sense. An 11-mile, 45-minute route, placing 265,000 pound trains designed to go 70 mph in the middle of the street is ludicrous. Economic stimulus dollars were available for shovel-ready projects. Not only has this asinine concrete project failed to qualify for any federal transit funds, it has also resulted in the loss of federal economic stimulus dollars. Plans to repave University Avenue have been in the works for nearly 30 years. But after all this planning, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Ramsey County and the other public agencies involved still do not have a shovel-ready project. In Mel BrooksâÄô âÄúThe Producers,âÄù a couple of con men lure clueless investors into financing the production of a Broadway musical many times over. The planned light-rail line in the middle of a developed city street is to public transit as âÄúSpringtime for HitlerâÄù is to musical theatre. The Central Corridor project is not about improving public transit. It essentially replaces the limited-stop Route 50 bus. The Route 50 could and should have been upgraded to a more frequent service years ago. The UniversityâÄôs spat with the Met Council is not a matter of compromise, as the Editorial Board of The Minnesota Daily suggests. No one is getting exactly what they want. The Central Corridor Project is a classic con job, complete with plenty of dupes, worried they might, as the Daily suggested of the University, âÄúmiss the train.âÄù