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Letter from the Counties Transit Improvement Board

Letter from the Counties Transit Improvement Board

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Letter to Chair Haigh
Letter to Chair Haigh

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Published by: Minnesota Public Radio on Feb 21, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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February 19, 2014Ms. Susan Haigh, Chair Metropolitan Council390 Robert Street NorthSt. Paul, MN 55101-1805Dear Ms. Haigh: At its meeting this morning, the Counties Transit Improvement Board (the “Board”)voted unanimously to approve the following motion: if the cities along the SouthwestLRT line fail to act by the end of the second quarter of this year (June 30, 2014), theBoard is prepared to withdraw its financial support from the Southwest LRT projectand transfer that support to the Bottineau LRT project.The purpose of this action is to convey our sense of strong urgency that this projectmove ahead and show progress. There are communities with projects across theregion that have agreed that the Southwest LRT project will be the next project to befunded in the region. In the absence of community partners along the SouthwestLRT line that are willing to work to resolve issues, the Board will move its financialsupport to the next corridor in the queue.It is critical to point out that the failure to progress jeopardizes the project’s standingin the federal funding process, as well. Congress made it very clear in MAP-21 thatprojects must progress or risk losing federal support. Competition for federal NewStarts funding is fierce; the FTA will simply reallocate its limited federal funding toother projects across the country, if the Southwest LRT project continues to facedelay after delay.Finally, the Board urges that solutions to the complex problems facing the projectreflect the understanding that costs must be contained on this project. The need for CTIB funding across the region far exceeds current resources. The Board hasexpended $20 million to date on the Southwest LRT project and has awarded anadditional $30 million in funds for 2014. We expect these funds will be expendedprudently and in a manner that advances the project in the engineering and designprocess.While Southwest LRT will yield significant local benefits, it is also a very importantregional project. We believe that it is imperative that local parochial interests andpositioning are not allowed to block progress on this regional asset.

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