Two days before the Bottineau Transitway public hearing on Nov. 28, Golden Valley City Councilmembers' phones began ringing off the hook with calls of support for the light rail.
Thanks to a survey iniated by members of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, about 500 Golden Valley residents received phone calls from a third party company that asked questions on the trade group's behalf.
Of the 500 people contacted, 383 people said they were familiar with the project. From there, 220 Golden Valley residents said they support Bottineau, or about 57 percent.
Those 220 residents were asked to call city councilmembers or attend the public hearing to encourage the council to pass a resolution of support for the light rail.
"We have a self interest in seeing the project go forward," Dan McConnell, business manager with the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, said about Bottineau. "We think that having strong, vibrant communities is a good thing and we think investing in infrastructure is a way to create strong vibrant communities."
McConnell, a Minneapolis resident who lives near the Hiawatha light rail line, was quick to admit that the survey was not scientific.
"We know the survey wasn't scientific, we understand that," McConnell said. "But it provides one snapshot of some public opinion. The majority of residents like this idea and want to see it go forward."
City Councilmember Paul Pentel said that the survey information won't influence her decision to support or reject the resolution on Dec. 18.
"The survey is another piece of information," Pentel said. "I take all testimony into consideration but that particular poll won’t influence my decision."
Pentel voted against the Bottineau plans last summer, along with DeDe Scanlon and Joanie Clausen.
Mayor Shep Harris said that those who are opposed to the light rail seem to also be opposed to the survey.
"It's grass roots advocacy," Harris said about the survey. "A decent numbers of people who spoke at the public hearing were opposed [to the resolution]. But we have a bunch of additional people now that are for the light rail. To me, this survey is like adding another  people to the public forum."
Golden Valley resident and trade member Andy Snope spoke at the public hearing and has been in support of Bottineau from the beginning.
"I am a resident who is concerned about jobs. I believe that expanding transit creates jobs; jobs to build a transit system and jobs created by infrastructure and business development adjacent to transit," Snope told city councilmembers in a recent letter. "I am a resident who is concerned about the environmental impact on the proposed corridor of the right of way route. The only way we can address all of these concerns and put together a workable solution is to get back on board with this study and be a player in the project."