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Continued: Readers Write: (Aug. 27): Syria, gender equality, online sales taxes, Minneapolis taxis, Southwest light rail

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  • Last update: August 26, 2013 - 8:08 PM

Joe Nunez, West St. Paul

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MINNEAPOLIS TAXIS

City hasn’t kept up with growth

As a former teacher of the city-mandated taxi driver training classes and current manager of Rainbow Taxi, I agree with the Aug. 24 Letter of the Day referring to dirty and unsafe taxis in Minneapolis. There are several reasons for incidents like the one described.

First off, since 2006 the number of cabs in Minneapolis has nearly tripled while taxi ordinance enforcement has not increased appreciably. The Business Licensing department simply does not have the manpower to even begin to address the problems facing it.

Second, there are an astounding number of unlicensed vehicles cruising the city, almost unimpeded. We don’t know if the cab the letter writer took was legal. Third, the difficulty making a living in a Minneapolis taxi sadly causes some drivers to lose interest in customer service.

My boss was recently in Chicago and was impressed by the successful regulation of taxis in that city. As we see it, Minneapolis officials have to choose whether they want to be Chicago or Duluth.

Frederic J. Anderson, Minneapolis

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SOUTHWEST LRT

Someone needs to step up here

Despite what some may think (“Southwest rail issues long since solved,” Opinion Exchange, Aug. 22), or what the Star Tribune reports (“Opposition stalls plans for Southwest Corridor LRT,” Aug. 25) it was the years-long negligence of Hennepin County’s planners that has brought us to the current impasse. To date, nobody has been able to provide a freight rail reroute plan that is operationally viable for railroads and affordable for taxpayers. Until this long obvious but deliberately ignored engineering and financial problem is solved, the actions of St. Louis Park or Minneapolis or citizen groups are moot. We need solutions, not scapegoats.

Terri Spencer, St. Louis Park

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Central to the controversy are considerations of neighborhood safety and continuity, quality-of-life issues related to green space and noise and air pollution, and much more.

In the 1960s, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) was beginning to lay rail for a regional system around San Francisco. The city of Berkeley, just north of Oakland in the East Bay, had many of the same concerns with the rail system we’ve been seeing in the Twin Cities today.

Long story (www.startribune.com/a2456) short, Berkeley conducted its own analysis and determined the BART district authority had grossly exaggerated the costs for underground rail through Berkeley, presumably because it didn’t want to establish a precedent of acquiescing to local communities.

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