Eminent domain no light-rail mediator

That Met Council may get to invoke eminent domain adds unnecessary noise to the dispute before mediation begins.

Court-ordered mediation beings Monday between the University of Minnesota and the Metropolitan Council regarding the ongoing dispute over the light rail and its impact on University research equipment. On the heels of mediation, Minnesota Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, and Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, have introduced bills which would grant the Met Council eminent domain over relevant University property. Hausman called the bill âÄúa tool to assure that we can move forward with the largest public works project in Minnesota history.âÄù If the University does not grant the temporary easement by April 27, the winning bid for construction on the preparatory reroutes will expire. Legislators say that it is in order to help pressure mediation to move swiftly that the threat of eminent domain has been put on the table. IsnâÄôt this getting out of hand? Sure, politicians like to point at the University for its âÄòarroganceâÄô or âÄòuncooperativeâÄô behavior. ThatâÄôs easy enough, and not always unwarranted. But take a step back; there are other trains on the track. Minnesota Public Radio has sued over the light rail, too. ItâÄôs clear everyone wants the light rail tomorrow; itâÄôs equally clear that no one wants bad press. This includes the University, where broke college students and staff and faculty whose salaries were just cut cannot afford for the legislature to have one more rationale to slash state higher education appropriations. The Minnesota Daily has already said in compromise, the University should grant the temporary easement, a decision Met Council Chair Peter Bell calls a âÄúno-brainer.âÄù If the UniversityâÄôs position is really as damnable as the retorts imply, then mediation will proceed at a clipping pace. So hit the brakes on the rhetoric. And really âĦ eminent domain?