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MPR lawsuit says LRT plans still don't address station's concerns about noise and vibrations

Concerns — once thought to be resolved — about noise and vibrations emanating from planned light rail trains running past Minnesota Public Radio's headquarters have led to a lawsuit filed this week by MPR.

The Metropolitan Council, which runs the Central Corridor light rail project that will connect downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis, has proposed to alleviate the problems by putting a special track bed along Cedar Street in downtown St. Paul, in front of MPR.

But MPR wants the rails placed on steel springs to isolate the vibrations and says that the Met Council's proposal isn't good enough, reports the Star Tribune. MPR's news division also presents a fair view of the controversy involving its own organization.

Less expensive rubber pads proposed by the Met Council are "what the standard is in this country," said Peter Bell, chairman of the Met Council.

Reports the Strib:

"I think their lawsuit has no merit, none, and we will prevail. We will fight this vigorously," he said.

"We can't allow people on the line to be determining for us how we're going to design and operate the line," he said, expressing concern that precedents could be set for other upcoming transit projects such as the Southwest Corridor light-rail line.

"We won't tell MPR how to do classical music, and MPR shouldn't tell our engineers how to engineer a light-rail line," he said.

Apparently the pending litigation won't stop work on the line, scheduled to open in 2014, the paper said:

MPR said it is making no attempt to halt the project, and Peter Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, said this week in Washington, D.C., that he expects work on the Central Corridor to continue.

"It is not out of the ordinary for us to get sued by a variety of parties as these projects move forward," he said. "We will continue to move the project forward, lawsuits or no lawsuits, up and until someone gets a temporary restraining order, and we would obviously fight that."

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Comments (4)

I've been an ardent supporter of MPR for years, but they have to stop this. There is no such thing as a risk-free environment and they have to realize that and remember that they are but one corporate citizen along a line that will serve thousands of people, take thousands of cars off the street, reduce pollution and give mobility to many who wouldn't have it otherwise.

It's truly regrettable that MPR's hegemony extends to interference with the public trust that it is supposed to exemplify and serve. This is a good time to withdraw all funding from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment for MPR's tenously justified projects.

MPR should call up Car Talk and ask if the springs are worth the extra money as opposed to rubber pads. If Click-and-Clack say the cost is justified, then MPR could hold a pledge drive and raise the extra money. Coffee cups shaped like little trains could be given to those that make "sustaining" pledges.

MPR should move to the suburbs where it's both quiet and cheap. Currently, members and taxpayer are subsidizing their downtown version of the Taj Mahal, while they use our own tax dollars to sue us.