Suburban lawmakers try to halt Central Corridor

Those sprawling holes in the ground in downtown St. Paul would remain wide open if four Republican lawmakers from the suburbs and outstate Minnesota have their way.


The state representatives introduced a bill today that would halt all work on the light rail line until the Metropolitan Council amends its final environmental study to reflect how construction would hurt nearby businesses. The other condition? A majority of plaintiffs in the Rondo lawsuit or a federal judge would have to sign off on the findings.

The bill’s authors are Reps. Mark Buesgens of Jordan, Bob Barrett of Shafer, Linda Runbeck of Circle Pines and Bob Gunther of Fairmont. Admittedly, this metro reporter had to get out a map to find out where these cities are — and I can tell you they’re nowhere near University Avenue in St. Paul.

The bill might be a reaction to recent developments in the business vs. light rail debate. You might recall about a month ago, Judge Donovan Frank ruled that the Met Council’s environmental-impact study was “deficient,” and ordered up a new assessment of how the project would affect businesses.

The Met Council did just that — and this week completed a study predicting businesses would experience a zero to 2.5 percent decline in revenues during the build-out. Those figures weren’t what University Avenue businesses had in mind.

And they’re apparently getting a little sympathy from lawmakers far, far away.

  • Chris Bargeron

    The interest and concern of these Greater Minnesota legislators about the economic impact to the University Ave corridor is a bit surprising.

    Methinks it’s more about being against investment in transit in the metro.

  • Let’s be frank – this is a political maneuver to kill the Central Corridor by legislators in auto-depend districts. Furthermore, this small coalition of opposition likely has very limited interest in the well-being of small businesses along the Corridor.

    Billions upon billions of tax dollars have been spent funding roads, highways and interstates to accommodate energy-and-economically inefficient suburban sprawl developments at the exurb fringe and out-state. I feel it is time (and fair) to finally dedicate public funding and embrace a cause that will likely have numerous positive ramifications and help bring city transit to the 21st Century.

  • Ray Marshall

    What’s with all the sobbing about destroying businesses in the Central Corridor?

    Nobody wants to say it, but part of the plan is to get rid of some of those small mom/pop businesses, giving them some money for relocation to another area, and to attract more investment in terms of multiple housing and commercial development that will create more jobs.

    That’s how successful cities have developed and grown from time immemorial.