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6/9/2003



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Northstar Corridor officials to pursue state funding in 2004 budget


The Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) Board recently voted to continue trying to obtain funding for the commuter-rail project in the 2004 Minnesota legislative session.



Legislators did not provide state funding for 2003, but directed the Minnesota Department of Transportation to work with NCDA to update ridership forecasts based on 2000 census numbers and resume discussion with Burlington Northern Santa Fe to assess needed improvements on existing track along the corridor. The authorities must provide a report to the legislature by Jan. 15, 2004.



"The language in the transportation bill sends a strong signal that Northstar will be an important part of legislative discussions in 2004, when a larger bonding bill will be considered," said NCDA Chair Duane Grandy in a prepared statement.



Local governments already have pledged 10 percent of the corridor’s construction costs. If the state would provide 40 percent of the funding, the federal government would provide the remainder.



The proposed 82-mile Northstar Corridor would travel from St. Cloud/Rice, Minn., to Minneapolis — the fastest-growing area in the state, according to NCDA.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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