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Rep. Wolgamott Introduces Legislation for Next Stage of Northstar Extension

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

St. Paul, MN – Yesterday, State Representative Dan Wolgamott (DFL – St. Cloud) introduced legislation to fund the next steps in the process of extending the Northstar Commuter Rail to St. Cloud.

“The people of Central Minnesota are ready to finally finish Northstar, and this bill funds the next steps to make that dream a reality,” said Rep. Wolgamott. “Since my Northstar legislation passed last year, I’ve been working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and my constituents in St. Cloud to keep this project moving forward, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.  Based on the work that we’ve done, we are now in a position to take the next steps in bringing Northstar to St. Cloud and giving Central Minnesotans the world-class transportation options they deserve.”

The bill, HF 4017, would build upon last year’s successful legislation that requires the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to update information on the feasibility of the project. Currently, MnDOT is collaborating with BNSF Railway, which owns the track and operates the existing Northstar service, to identify operational scenarios that are technically feasible with respect to equipment utilization, train crew scheduling, and the interaction between proposed passenger train service and existing passenger train and freight train operations.

The newly proposed $6 million investment in Rep. Wolgamott’s bill would conduct ridership and revenue studies to prepare an economic impact analysis, identify equipment needs, and begin preliminary engineering and environmental review. These would be done alongside negotiations with BNSF Railway and an extensive stakeholder and public involvement process.

The legislation is scheduled to be heard in the House Capital Investment Division this Thursday.

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