LTE: Meeting for passenger rail in Edina

To the Editor:
Edina is finally considering a plan to encourage the development of passenger rail service in Edina, and the first opportunity for public input is 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, at the Public Works & Park Maintenance Facility, 7450 Metro Blvd.
The session will start the process of development of a rail connection between Edina and the Southwest Light Rail line on the north and, possibly, Savage (on the other side of the Minnesota River) on the south.
Such a system will free local residents (and the residents of neighboring communities on the north and south) from the use of automobiles or other types of rubber-tired transportation to reach points throughout the Twin Cities.
The system will be especially advantageous, economic, and environmentally responsible for commuters who live in Edina and work elsewhere (and vice-versa). It will make use of the MN&S tracks (also known as the Dan Patch tracks) that run north-south across the southwestern Twin Cities suburbs.
Development of light rail along the MN&S tracks has been restricted by the Metropolitan Council’s misinterpretation of a law known as the Dan Patch Gag Rule. Although the gag rule restricts the development of a particular plan for hazardous commuter rail (fast, heavy trains), it does not restrict the development of light rail (more than 30 times safer) along the MN&S tracks.
The public input session on July 25 will solicit opinions on whether the city should recommend the elimination of the Gag Rule. This is not a “yes” or “no” question.
Instead, Edina (and neighboring communities) should be pressuring the Met Council to re-interpret the gag rule, so that the Met Council can fill its mandated role in light rail planning.
David Davison
Edina