Dear Blue Line Extension Leaders and Environmental Compliance Lead Ms Neha Damle:
The Blue Line Coalition includes 13 organizations with roots in communities that live, work, go to school across the corridor of the Blue Line extension project. Our advocacy aims to ensure the opportunity that comes with building a train through our communities does not harm us, but materializes the benefits and impacts that we envision collectively as a community.
This letter is to provide comments on the publication of the scope for the supplemental environmental impact study (SEIS) on the blue line extension project. The SEIS is an opportunity to ensure that our collective efforts between the project team, elected officials, and community to address anti-displacement before, during and after construction become a reality.
To that end, the scope of the study must be expanded to include the following:
- Understands the social and community impact that the development of the train will have across the corridor before, during and after construction — specifically looking at the impacts of the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the civil unrest that impacted the corridor in 2020.
- Covers the mitigation of previous harms made by the route modification — such as impacts to the Harrison Neighborhood, the Heritage Park Neighborhoods — by the design of the blue line extension project.
- Studies the business, housing and cultural displacement as a result of the construction, design of the blue line extension project; and mitigation strategies that can be applied before, during and after construction such as technical assistance and forgivable grants
- Includes mitigation strategies that invest in neighborhoods that have been historically underinvested and disproportionately impacted by racist planning processes and policies; not deconcentrating areas of poverty.
Thank you for your time,
Blue Line Coalition/The Alliance
African Career, Education & Resources Inc. (ACER)
Housing Justice Center
Lao Center of Minnesota
Heritage Park Neighborhood Association
Pueblos De Lucha Y Esperanza
Pillsbury United Communities
Sue Watlov Phillips
Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing