Transit was the big winner in Tuesday’s election. Community opposition to highway expansion projects in Minneapolis and Saint Paul may have helped tip the balance in the mayoral races and in several city council races in Minnneapolis.
Although Peter McLaughlin was able to claim credit for building the successful Hiawatha LRT line in his televison commercials, he chose to downplay his support for the largely unpopular 35W Access Project which would have added car lanes and ramps in South Minneapolis. Both Scott Persons who lost to Ralph Reminton i the 10th Ward and Marie Hauser who lost to Elizabeth Glidden in the 8th Ward also downplayed their support for the controversial project. Both Persons and Hauser served on the Access Project PAC. Dean Zimmermann may have also lost support by contrasting his “ambivalent” stance on highway expansion to his opponent’s opposition to the Access Project.
Chris Coleman’s Mayoral bid was likely helped by Mayor Randy Kelly’s zeal to connect the Ayd Mill Road to major freeways in Saint Paul. While Coleman supports reconnecting Ayd Mill, his plan is more sensitive to neighborhoods along the road.
Mayor Rybak and Mayor-elect Coleman have affirmed their committment to building the Central Corridor LRT line connecting the Twin Cities.
The controversial transportation system called “personal rapid transit” or PRT suffered a a major defeat on Tuesday. Three personal rapid transit candidates lost to candidates who are strong supporters of LRT and Northstar.
COUNCIL MEMBER – WARD 6 – MPLS
*DEAN (Z) ZIMMERMANN . .1,492 49.10%
ROBERT LILLIGREN . . . 1,538 50.61%
COUNCIL MEMBER – WARD 9 – MPLS
*DAVE BICKING . . . . . 1,315 30.50%
GARY SCHIFF. . . . . . 2,549 59.13%
COUNCIL MEMBER – WARD 3 – MPLS
DIANE HOFSTEDE. . . . 2,407 71.19%
*AARON NEUMANN . . . . . 946 27.98%
PRT has had a considerable support in the Green Party in recent years. During his term in office, Dean Zimmermann has been a tireless promoter of the controversial system.
Cam Gordon will be the top elected Green Party officeholder in Minnesota. Cam Gordon has told me he is a supporter of Light Rail and other modes of conventional transit, not PRT.