ISSUE #3 We Can Still Save the Twin Cities from Central Corridor disaster

Sen. Sandy Pappas admits "errors were made" and Steve Carlson points out a detailed remedy

On On October 13, 2012, in a KSTP-TV debate, McCollum admitted that her Central Corridor project "wasn't perfect" and said the only reason they did it with stimulus dollars is that the Union Depot project was classified as "shovel ready". The "jobs" created to construct it are coming to an end. Those jobs will be lost and then think of the tens of thousands of jobs which will be lost as 2,000 businesses along the Central Corridor are destroyed or put at risk.

September 21, 2010 at the White Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce, Rep. Betty McCollum cited the collaboration of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce as she defended the current plans for the "Central Corridor" train system set to use federal stimulus tax dollars to obliterate University Ave and replace it with an inappropriate high-speed rail system (the LRT will be a cumbersome link between a high-speed rail running to the St. Paul Union Depot, extending the system through Minneapolis), cutting off traffic, businesses and jobs, and neighborhoods. Some black leaders are already announcing plans to flee the area and establish a "black business Mecca" in north Minneapolis. Asian and Hispanic and other diverse businesses will also be severely impacted and St. Paul stands to lose precious diversity that have been decades in the making. At a recent joint appearance of Mayor Chris Coleman and Rep. Betty McCollum et al., Coleman noted that usually when he meets McCollum she is talking to him about regional high-speed light rail racing up St. Paul's main street, University Avenue.

CD4 Independence and Tea Party Candidate Steve Carlson calls on the City and Chamber of Commerce to take immediate measures to attract businesses back to University Avenue in St. Paul

1. Announcing a review of the Central Corridor project to immediately assess and remedy perceptions that the light rail train will damage and destroy businesses in the Midway-Capitol business neighborhood and other areas.

2. Deploying a Planning & Economic Development team to immediately determine how delaying and modifying this Central Corridor project can allow the City to assert its authority and control over this critical real eastate to reverse course and attract new businesses immediately, rather than driving them away.

3. This effort should reach out to business owners of all races and cultures, including immigrants who can bring new markets.

4. Issuing a statement that the City views as vital steps to retain the cultural diversity in this area in St. Paul and to develop it further in a long-term commitment to drive growth and serve the diverse St. Paul community.

5. These steps should be announced in English and Spanish, as well as the languages of the various immigrant communities in St. Paul.

There are 2,000 businesses located along this main business area between the Twin Cities, St. Paul and Minnesota. Although a Metropolitan Council Management Committee including St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is trying to 'reach out' to the many affected businesses, it is clear there is no way the committee can smooth this over by reaching out. It's hard to reach out with a high speed train that will bottle up traffic, pose a hazard to people in the neighborhood, destroy parking and drive away customers (no pun intended).

In a televised debate taped Sunday, September 19, I called once again on Mayor Coleman to stop this train until the alternative of delay and elevate can be considered or other transportation alternatives found so that we can save jobs and businesses in St. Paul during this severe recession. These people on University Ave are recession fighters and we need to continue to fight the recession in St. Paul.

The other candidate in the debate, Teresa Collett, joined with me in opposing this project. Incumbent Congressperson Betty McCollum, who has sponsored this project with federal funding and who takes credit for it as a "billion dollar private sector jobs program" skipped the debate, but will be faced with these questions and demands when we meet at the White Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce forum on September 21.