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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Minnesota city backs DM&E's Powder River Basin project

On Monday, the city of Eagle Lake, Minn., approved a community partnership agreement with the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp. (DM&E) that lends formal support to the railroad’s Powder River Basin (PRB) project and addresses mitigation issues.

Under the agreement, the 1,100-mile regional will use an existing line through town instead of a route south of the city to move coal trains.

The DM&E now has gained project support from every Minnesota city along the proposed coal-hauling line expect Rochester. All cities along the proposed South Dakota line back the project, but the railroad continues to negotiate an agreement with Brookings, the DM&E said.

Under its $1.5 billion PRB plan, the DM&E proposes to build a 262.3-mile line through western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, and upgrade 600 miles of other potential coal-hauling lines in South Dakota and Minnesota.

Last month, the Surface Transportation Board granted final approval for the project. Now, the DM&E awaits the Federal Railroad Administration’s decision on the railroad’s application to obtain a $2.5 billion Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program loan to finance the PRB project and fund other trackwork.

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More News from 3/9/2006