The BLC is part of the Corridor Management Committee (CMC) — a voting body that advises the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County on the design and construction the Blue Line extension project. Most projects like this have a CMC — but this one is different. Thanks to years of advocacy, BLC partners (with the support of then Rep. Keith Ellison) secured two seats at this table, which is otherwise composed of mayors and senior planners from the corridor cities. Our inclusion intentionally makes room for underrepresented communities who are disproportionately impacted by the construction of the Blue Line extension project.
On June 9, 2022, the CMC voted on the recommended modified route. BLC took a strong stance and voted NO. This is not because we are against transit development. It is because we are a coalition of organizations that deeply care about and love our communities and demand that patterns of harm are broken and history is made — with us and for us.
This is what we shared with the committee when we voted NO:
We, the Blue Line Coalition, are disappointed at the lack of intentionality to align the timing of the route modification to the efforts to ensure that Black, immigrant, and people of color communities benefit directly from the construction of this transit project — rather than paying the ultimate price: being displaced.
It is disappointing that all we have learned and seen at the city, county and regional level over the past several years was not enough to compel action on anti-displacement before choosing a new route for the Blue Line extension project.
Our collective memory has not changed. We remember Rondo. We remember Olson Memorial Highway. We remember all of those community members and families who have been disproportionately negatively impacted by transportation projects funded by our tax dollars.
We continue to look for ways to support this project. We welcome investment and the ability to create pathways for our micro and small businesses to move from renters to owners. We welcome safe, reliable transportation for our community members, who are transit dependent and currently unable to take their kids out on the weekend to visit the cities where we live and work. We strongly believe that our community deserves nice things, like a grocery store where we can buy healthy foods to cook meals for our families.
But, because of the enormous respect and love that our communities deserve, we must stay true to our principles. We cannot support a project that is being built in the name of equity, when we still do not know how much money will be allocated to address the inequities that have shaped our neighborhoods for generations. So we are voting No.
We do remain hopeful that change is possible. Through our collective efforts we were able to produce many comments during the commenting period for the route modification report that agreed we can do better on the Blue Line extension project. We appreciate and support the efforts of Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison, Hennepin County Commissioners Irene Fernando and Jeff Lunde, Representative Ilhan Omar, and Senator Tina Smith. However, every day that passes without cohesive and concrete efforts by all levels of government, we miss the opportunity to build a different kind of legacy — a legacy that can catalyze our communities’ economic success.
We will continue to eagerly and assertively find ways to support this project once we see in place the demands that we are putting forward and once the timeline is build to break historic patterns of harm.