Possible Lawsuit Looms Over Southwest Light Rail

Updated: 10/01/2013 7:08 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

A coalition of groups opposed to the options being considered for the Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) line is raising money for a potential lawsuit.

The Metropolitan Council is considering two options for the SWLRT, and they both include running the line right through the Kenilworth Corridor bike trail between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. It is a pristine, wooded area and many people in the area, including the city of Minneapolis, oppose the idea of running the SWLRT line side-by-side with the existing railroad tracks next to the bike trail.

The Kenilworth Preservation Group is adamantly opposed to the idea and the other option of running a shallow tunnel through the same stretch of the SWLRT. Stuart Chazin heads up the Kenilworth Preservation Group (KPG).

He tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the people opposed to the two options are "working diligently to avoid a lawsuit and encourage the Met Council to come up with other options, but if they go the route of the shallow tunnel, or co-location, there could very well be a lawsuit filed against either plan." Chazin says the groups are also "encouraging the city of Minneapolis to fight the Met Council's ideas through legal means, if necessary."

We asked the Met Council if a lawsuit could delay the billion-dollar SWLRT project, but a spokesperson told us the Met Council, as a policy, does not comment on pending litigation. The Met Council is expected to announce its preferred choices for the SWLRT line at its next meeting, Oct. 9.

The KPG is trying to get the Met Council to postpone action at the next meeting and take more time to consider other options besides the shallow tunnel plan or the co-location option.