More Money For Minnesota High-Speed Passenger Rail Line

WASHINGTON — More of taxpayers’ dollars will move the Duluth to Minneapolis high-speed passenger rail line closer to completion, officials said.

U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., said the project has been awarded $1.1 million from the Federal Railroad Administration. The funding will be used to complete an environmental impact statement for the project.

“Work on the Northern Lights Express is moving along at full throttle,” Oberstar said. “This is the kind of project that will save energy and alleviate congestion on our highways.  With high fuel prices, we need to do all we can to give consumers alternatives to driving.”

“Countless communities across the nation are waking up to the economic advantages of brining high-speed passenger rail to their towns and cities.  This grant will enable the Northern Lights Express to take a giant step forward toward the very front of that long line of communities,” said Steve Raukar, Chairman of the Northern Lights Express Passenger Rail Joint Powers Board.

When completed, the Northstar Express will run 150 miles from Duluth to downtown Minneapolis at speeds of up to 110 mph. Portions of the line could become operational by the end of 2009.

Investing in passenger and commuter rail has been one of Oberstar’s priorities as chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.