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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.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/16/2004