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St. Paul congregations address transit fairness

More than 300 community residents, united under the banner of the Healthy Corridor for All coalition, released a health impact assessment concerning the potential impact of rezoning and policy decisions being made around the Central Corridor Light Rail Line, during a press conference at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (ELCA), St. Paul.

Kate Hess Pace, project manager for ISAIAH’s Healthy Corridor for All coalition, addresses concerns about racial inequities in the expansion of Light Rail Transit in the central corridor of St. Paul, during a community meeting at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (ELCA). Photo provided by ISAIAH

The study included information about the corridor and the effects of the light rail project there. Among its findings:
* More than 60 percent of all jobs in St. Paul are located in the central corridor.
* Eighty-six percent of the businesses along the central corridor are small businesses.
* Thirteen percent of the small businesses are minority-owned.
* Only six percent of corridor residents have access to jobs there, and most make under $14,000 per year.
* Unemployment among corridor residents is 9.9 percent.
“Black, Vietnamese, Hmong, Somali, Latino, and white — we all live here, play here, do business here, pray here, cry here, love right here on the Central Corridor,” said Liz Xiong, member of the coalition’s steering committee. “[We want] to make sure that the people there now will be able to benefit from [light rail],” added Kate Hess Pace, project manager.
The Rev. Jonathan Zielske, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church (ECLA), St. Paul, said, “The wounds are still not healed from the I-94 construction through Rondo. But we are not on a path to crisis. We see a golden opportunity to reorder this history for St. Paul.
ISAIAH, a coalition of 90 member congregations in the Twin Cities and St. Cloud that address community needs, has organized the coalition.

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