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Northstar Corridor Development Authority to study proposed extension


Last week, the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) approved funding to conduct a feasibility study for the second phase of the Northstar commuter-rail line, which would extend from Big Lake to Becker, St. Cloud and Rice, Minn.

During the four-month study, NCDA will project ridership figures, analyze Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding guidelines and determine potential environmental issues, freight railroad negotiation issues and station designs.

The St. Cloud extension originally was included in Northstar’s first phase, but in 2003, the FTA issued more stringent cost-benefit requirements for funding new transit projects. So, NCDA scaled back the route to run from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis. The authority expects to begin construction on the first phase in summer and launch service in late 2009.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Larry Haws and state Sen. Tarryl Clark recently introduced legislation that would allocate $250,000 in state funding for second-phase preliminary engineering and environmental review, track use negotiations with BNSF Railway Co. and property appraisals.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/9/2007