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Minnesota Gov. Dayton announces new council on freight rail


Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton late last week established the Governor's Council on Freight Rail, a public-private working group of state officials and railroads to improve communication, safety and economic development in the state.

Dayton officially will chair the council, with State Rail Director Alene Tchourumoff serving as chair on his behalf, according to a press release issued by Dayton's office.

The council will include several cabinet members of Dayton's administration, as well as representatives of Class I, II and III freight railroads operating in the state; Amtrak; the League of Minnesota Cities; and the Association of Minnesota Counties.

Minnesota is home to more than 4,500 miles of freight railroad, making it one of the largest rail networks in the country, state officials said. The rail network carries 25 percent of all freight movements in the state, with that share expected to grow 25 percent to 40 percent by 2040.

However, increasing shipments of hazardous materials have increased the risk of derailments for Minnesota's communities, environment, and economy, state officials said.

"Minnesota's railways make important contributions to our state's economy, and their operations in our state have a major impact on both the vitality and safety of our communities," said Dayton. "The new Council on Freight Rail will enhance coordination and partnership between Minnesota and the railroads, for the benefit of communities across our state."

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More News from 7/18/2016