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Continued: Readers Write: (July 29): Racial assumptions, city-owned utilities, Southwest light rail

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  • Last update: July 28, 2013 - 6:29 PM

Xcel’s Sherco coal power plant contributes millions of tons of carbon annually. The Minneapolis City Council needs to raise the bar, because left to short-term profits, Xcel will only do the minimum required. It is the job of our public institutions to hold private corporations accountable to the public good.

GERRY TYRRELL, Minneapolis

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The city would be assuming ownership and operation of extremely complicated and critical infrastructure. This would be an enormous burden, and the stakes would be high.

Furthermore, the City Council’s stated goal of increasing the city’s use of green energy is great, but what does that have to do with who owns the poles, the wires and the meters? Does the council plan on constructing renewable-resource power plants within the city? The whole thing is silly, and municipalization will not save residents money. In fact, it will cost more.

However, as a resident of St. Paul, I am cheering for this plan. I would be thrilled to see Xcel Energy take its corporate headquarters and 2,000 jobs to my downtown.


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Southwest proposal has skewed priorities

Last year’s Southwest Corridor light-rail proposal has three of 17 stations with freight tracks immediately adjacent. If a switch to freight colocation between Louisiana and Penn Avenues is approved (which seems to be how the Metropolitan Council is leaning), the number of stations with immediately adjacent freight tracks would jump to seven.

Transit stations are supposed to be places for people, intended to stimulate pedestrian- and transit-oriented development, which is incompatible with freight tracks and trains. Combining this contemplated change with the plan to spend tens of millions of dollars on park-and-ride facilities would turn our metro area’s agreed-upon hierarchy upside down.

Let’s take a step back from the tunnel vision of colocating freight and digging a (shallow or deep) light-rail tunnel through part of the Kenilworth area just to get the thing built. Doing light rail right means putting the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists ahead of freight trains and automobiles.


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The latest cost projections for the Southwest Corridor project have jumped to $1.82 billion. The Midtown Greenway (a k a Uptown) route was rejected because its projected cost was $1.5 billion, which is starting to look like a bargain. Isn’t it time for the planners to go back to the drawing board and consider that option, which has the added advantage of running through much denser population areas?

NANCY BEACH, Minneapolis

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