Five Metro Transit police officers greeted attendees of a federal court hearing Friday afternoon in downtown St. Paul. The hearing was to determine whether or not a lawsuit filed by the St. Paul Branch of the NAACP, the Aurora St. Anthony Community Development Corporation, Pilgrim Baptist Church, and a list of neighborhood businesses and residents, will halt the Central Corridor project and force the Met Council and the Federal Transit Administration to comply with requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Plaintiff attorney Thomas DeVincke of the Minneapolis law firm Bonner and Borhart argued that the analysis NEPA requires is not contained in the massive project record prepared by the Met Council and approved by the FTA. Without an adequate study and recognition of the adverse impacts of the project, DeVincke stated that it would be impossible to make an informed decision on the selection a preferred alternative for the Central Corridor transit project.
Ironically, in a case involving the so-called TRANSIT project, very little was said during the 2-hour hearing about the impact of the project on public transit. According to the attorney for the Met Council, transit issues, like the reduction of the local 16A bus service, will be dealt with within 6 months after the LRT line becomes operational.
The judge hearing the case, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank, stated that he will issue a ruling within 60 days.
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