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1/16/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Northstar Corridor receives tentative state funding commitment


Despite some recent setbacks, Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) is inching forward with its proposed commuter-rail project. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently announced plans to include $37.5 million in his 2004 proposed capital investment bonding bill for the Northstar Corridor.

Under Pawlenty’s proposal, the state of Minnesota and local governments would pay two-thirds and one-third, respectively, of half the total construction costs. NCDA would rely on federal funds to pay for the remaining 50 percent.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides a 50 percent match to state and local dollars for rail projects that meet federal funding criteria. During the past several years, FTA has identified Northstar commuter rail as a recommended project, but withdrew the status last year because of a lack of state funding.

A recent study determined the project’s 40-mile Big Lake-to-Minneapolis segment met new cost-effectiveness standards set by FTA; however, a proposed extension to St. Cloud did not meet the standards. NCDA plans to proceed with the first segment, and later seek alternative funding for the St. Cloud extension.



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