U Minn Fights Train Through City Campus

MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – The University of Minnesota wants to keep a railroad off its campus. The college says it’s contributed $2 million to the 11-mile light rail project to connect the Twin Cities’ downtowns, but the Metropolitan Council has refused to address its concerns about safety, environment and interference with research.

     The U Minn calls the Metropolitan Council’s plan to build a “Central Corridor Light Rail Transit” through its East Bank Campus unlawful and inadequate.
     It says the railroad could snarl traffic, cause harmful vibrations and electromagnetic interference to its research labs, disturb students with noise, and obstruct historical resources.
     In its complaint in Hennepin County Court, U Minn says its East Bank Campus has almost “100 laboratory facilities in 17 buildings … in the vicinity of the proposed CCLRT Project route.”
     It says vibrations from construction and operations “may irreparably damage extremely valuable or one-of-a-kind research equipment or facilities,” and that electromagnetic interference could harm its research projects.
     The U Minn says some areas of the East Bank Campus are designated historic districts and that increased traffic from construction and operation of the rail will “adversely affect the existing setting and esthetic quality” of the historic districts.
     The university says it has repeatedly objected to the council’s plan to run the rail through the East Bank Campus at street level, and has asked the council to find an alternate route.
     The university wants construction stopped for environmental reasons, and a declaration that it is not obligated to convey property for the project before these issues are resolved.
     Lead counsel for the university is Thaddeus Lightfoot with the Environmental Law Group.

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