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8/4/2004



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Preliminary work on Northstar Corridor might proceed this year without state bonds


In May, the Minnesota state legislature adjourned without taking action on Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s capital investment bill, which proposes $37.5 million in low-interest bonding to enable the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) to proceed with plans for a new commuter-rail line. But under a more recent Pawlenty proposal, preliminary work for the project still could begin this year without the state bonds.

The governor proposes that NCDA use funds from regional government Metropolitan Council, as well as some local monies, to begin design and property acquisition, and work with Burlington Northern Santa Fe to negotiate an agreement to operate over the Class I’s tracks. The jump start would enable NCDA to begin service on the line by the planned 2008 start date, according to a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, NCDA would try to obtain state funds during the 2005 legislature. The authority needs state funding to supplement local monies already committed for the project to obtain a 50 percent match required for federal New Starts funds.

The Northstar Corridor’s 40-mile first phase would run along highways 10 and 47 between Big Lake to Minneapolis. Under a proposed second phase, NCDA would extend the line from Big Lake to St. Cloud.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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