More than four months after promising a decision "as quickly as possible," a federal judge is keeping the Metro Council and those who brought a lawsuit against it over Southwest light-rail transit studies waiting.
U.S. District Judge John Tunheim, now the chief judge in Minnesota, heard arguments for summary judgment on March 9 in the case brought against by the Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis.
That groups seeks to restart the municipal approval process for the line between Eden Prairie and Minneapolis after additional environmental studies are completed
later this yearin the spring of 2016.
"We are working on the order and we expect it to be released soon," a spokeswoman said when a reporter called Tunheim's office to inquire.
Asked what she read into the length of time that Tunheim was taking on the matter, Lakes and Parks Alliance spokeswoman Marry Pattock said, "No clue."
A Metro Council spokeswoman gave a similar reaction. "We do not read anything into it," Meredith Vadis said.
A number of things have changed since the case was argued. Most notably, rising cost estimates for the 14.5-mile, 15-station project prompted $250 million in cuts to reduce the cost to $1.74 billion.
Moreover, there's now another lawsuit. A group of Minnetonka residents sued the council in April, arguing that project studies didn't adequately gauge the impact of the project on a 49-acre natural area.