A group representing Asian businesses has filed a federal complaint against the Metropolitan Council, alleging the agency didn't properly study possible negative effects on minority communities and businesses along the planned Central Corridor light-rail line.

The Concerned Asian Business Owners, which represents about 30 businesses, submitted the complaint to the Federal Transit Administration last week. It's the second federal complaint lodged against the 11-mile line that will connect the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

About 46 percent of residents along the line are Asian, black or Hispanic, a concentration of minorities more than double the minority population in the region.

Governmental agencies that want federal money for projects are required to study possible adverse effects on minority and low-income groups. It's called an environmental justice study.

Project spokeswoman Laura Baenen pointed out that the federal government approved the final environmental justice study in August.

The business owners group enlisted the help of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, which analyzed the Met Council's study and conducted a survey of businesses in the area.

The 14-page analysis asserts the line would unduly harm minority communities and businesses. It says the Met Council's environmental justice study ignores "numerous expressions of concern that the project as designed would cause irreparable injury to racial minorities along the corridor."

One of the glaring deficiencies, the analysis states, is how the permanent loss of 85 percent of on-street parking will affect small businesses. The analysis found that 69 percent of businesses within an 11-block area that are likely to be hit hard by the loss of parking are owned or operated by Asians.

While the report focused on Asian businesses, it said that other minority groups would suffer similar effects.

The other federal complaint was filed last spring by the Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee, which includes the NAACP and housing groups. That complaint alleged the Met Council ignored potential negative effects of the line and hasn't treated the concerns by minority groups the same as other nonminority groups.

Met Council officials noted that more than 1,100 public meetings have been held and that several changes in the project came from public input.

The outcome of that investigation is pending.

"We recognize construction will have an impact to businesses, and we're committed to minimizing those impacts," Baenen said. She said several groups are trying to help businesses plan for the construction and suggested people go to www.centralcorridor.org.

The Central Corridor has a budget of up to $941 million, and it's scheduled to begin operating in 2014. The federal government is being asked to pay for half of the project's total cost. A final commitment has not been made.

Chris Havens • 612-673-4148