Thursday, September 02, 2010

University drops LRT lawsuit

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The University of Minnesota has finally reached accord with the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council on construction of the Central Corridor light rail transit line through St. Paul, Minnesota’s state capital.

Spurred by a long-standing public feud and by subsequent state legislative and other political pressure, the two parties have reached a preliminary agreement to protect “sensitive” university facilities and equipment during LRT construction.

In return, the university will drop a lawsuit intended in part to force the Metropolitan Council to reroute LRT away from university grounds. University officials have contended that LRT would generate electromagnetic interference and substantial vibration that could negatively impact its property. Critics of the university have said such charges were at best obstructionist.

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The preliminary deal still must be approved by the full Metropolitan Council and university regents. Met Council Chair Peter Bell says the deal will protect the university's facilities while keeping the Central Corridor projecton time and on budget.

The $957 million Central Corridor project, now under construction, is scheduled to commence revenue operation in 2014, linking downtown St. Paul and the city’s train station with downtown Minneapolis and that city’s existing Hiawatha Line LRT operation.