MPR lawsuit over light-rail vibration dismissed

A district judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Minnesota Public Radio over the plan to mitigate vibration from the Central Corridor light-rail transit (LRT) line in front of MPR’s broadcast facilities on Cedar Street in downtown St. Paul.

Ramsey County Judge Elena Ostby ruled Friday that the Metropolitan Council “did not commit … to a specific solution” when it signed a 10-page memorandum of understanding with MPR in April 2009. “There is no evidence that the Met Council breached the … agreement.”

In that document, which MPR also signed, the council agreed to install floating slab“capable of continuously providing vibration mitigation satisfying the criteria agreed upon in the mitigation plan…”

The agreement said the council would not commit to “a specific solution” at that time because final engineering was not yet underway.

On the recommendation of project engineers, the council ultimately opted for a rubber-supported floating slab that has been widely used by other rail projects to protect sensitive facilities from vibrations.

It is the same type of slab being used to protect University of Minnesota research laboratories located near the LRT alignment on Washington Avenue.

Cost estimates at the time showed that a rubber-supported slab would be about 30 percent less expensive than a steel spring-supported slab, which MPR sought in the lawsuit it filed in 2010.

Council Chair Susan Haigh said she was gratified by the judge’s ruling. “We have always felt the contract between the Council and MPR is clear and unambiguous. The Council has and will continue to honor its contract with MPR to mitigate vibration near the MPR building,” she said.

MPR is still considering its options, said Nick Kereakos, MPR vice president of technology and operations. He hinted that MPR might pursue further legal action if the vibration mitigation standards specified in its agreement with the Met Council aren’t met.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by David Greene on 11/07/2011 - 09:42 am.

    Well, guess I still won’t be renewing my MPR membership. I stopped it when they sued and will refuse to donate until they stop. And even then it will be a few years to purge the bad feelings.

  2. Submitted by Seth Rowe on 11/07/2011 - 07:48 pm.

    Any word on how MPR funded its lawsuit? Since MPR receives a large proportion of its funding from donors, one has to wonder if donor funds intended for programming ended up being essentially wasted in a dubious lawsuit, a move that one imagines would be less than helpful for the organization’s overall fundraising efforts.

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