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Joint committee seeks answer to rail congestion

DFL leaders

Minnesota’s clogged railways are negatively impacting farmers, miners, heavy industry and more, a joint House and Senate hearing heard Tuesday.

Lawmakers and industry representatives lay the blame for the slowdown on a jump in the number of oil trains crisscrossing the state to and from North Dakota’s booming Bakken oil fields.

But railroad industry representatives told a joint hearing of the House Transportation Finance, Commerce and Consumer Protection committees, and Senate Transportation and Public Safety Division, and Commerce and Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development committees that, even without the increase in oil train traffic, the state’s rail capacity has been stretched in recent years.

Legislators took no action.

"We have an unprecedented situation," said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls), chair of the House Transportation Finance Committee. Agriculture, mining and passenger rail are all being impacted by the slowdowns, he said. "We need to know why that's happening."

[LISTEN: Archived audio of the hearing]

(Read more)

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The 88th Session of the Minnesota Legislature has adjourned sine die
Saturday, May 17 2014 8:00 AM
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The 88th Session of the Minnesota Legislature has adjourned sine die.

Tuesday, January 6 2015 12:00 PM
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Per Minnesota Statute, the 89th Session of the Minnesota Legislature is set to convene on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 12 p.m.

News and Notes

When news from the House warrants

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Until next year (or when news from the House warrants).


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Looking to the 2015 session

Operating on a biennium, and according to Minnesota Statute 3.011, the Legislature convenes on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each odd-numbered year. So the start date for the 2015 session is Jan. 6, 2015. In the even numbered years, it convenes on a date set by joint agreement of both bodies. The state constitution limits the Legislature to meeting 120 legislative days during each biennium. 

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