Anti-LRT protest planned for Green Line's opening day

Michael Hicks
$957 million later, the first passenger-carrying Green Line trains will roll past the Weisman tomorrow.
:::: UPDATE :::: Anti-LRT protest on Green Line's opening day was a bust

Steve Ellenwood, a Woodbury resident who describes himself as "very active" in Republican politics, is organizing an anti-LRT protest planned to take place during the Green Line's opening day tomorrow.

"We're just a group of people that are very, very concerned about the financial commitment we've subjected future generations to," Ellenwood tells us. "When you listen to proponents of this, you keep hearing them say [LRT] is going to cut congestion, which is a bunch of BS. That's already proven not to be true."

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"There's no density and there's no demand," Ellenwood continues. "There's a duplication of service. There's no business case and that's proven because of the subsidies that have to be put in."

Ellenwood says he hopes up to 200 people will turn out for his protest, which he's organizing via texting and Facebook. The plan is for protesters to walk around Green Line stops with anti-LRT signs.

Though the specific messaging is still in the works, Ellenwood says the theme will be that "there's no reason to be building this with the transit system we have."

"The money that we're spending is just phenomenal, and that's what concerning," Ellenwood continues. "If you choose to live on a bus line it's pretty functional to get where you need to go, so why are we having to put billions of dollars into something that's duplicating that service while our roads and bridges are collapsing?"

We brought Ellenwood's concerns to Metro Transit spokesman John Siqueland.

"Like public education or public safety, public transit does not exist to turn a profit," Siqueland tells us. "The operation of public transit is subsidized not only in Minnesota but around the world. Our metro Blue Line has a history of being at the top of its class when it comes to amount of [operational expenses] that are covered through fares, and that's about 35-40 percent annually."

(For more, click to page two.)

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