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Release: Rep. Hornstein and Sen. Dibble join federal Minnesota and Wisconsin transportation leaders to celebrate second daily train to Chicago

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

La Crosse, Wis.—Today, Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis), Chair of the House Transportation Committee and Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), DFL-Lead of the Senate Transportation Committee, spoke at an event at the La Crosse Amtrak Station celebrating the completion of funding for the second daily train from the Twin Cities to Chicago. 

The Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) Intercity Passenger Rail Project adds a second daily passenger rail round-trip along the corridor shared by Amtrak Empire Builder and Hiawatha Service trains. When combined with the Empire Builder, the corridor will offer two daily round trips between St. Paul and Chicago. The TCMC added round trip is expected to begin in 2024 or sooner. Rail improvements will ease train congestion, modernize sections of track and speed the movement of freight.

The Minnesota legislators hailed the route as an example of public private collaborations on a major infrastructure project. Sen. Dibble thanked Minnesota members of the Great River Rail Commission and the nonprofit All Aboard Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), including former commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Amtrak officials who attended the event. 

“This has been a long time coming,” Senator Dibble remarked. “It’s a great day for transportation. Minnesotans deserve a modern transportation system built for the 21st century and I’m grateful for collaboration between states and public and private entities to get this second train up and running.” 

“This is the start of a new era of modern passenger rail which will connect communities, promote economic development, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Rep. Hornstein asserted. “Minnesota’s share of funding was included in the 2021 omnibus transportation bill which was signed into law last year.” 

Rep. Hornstein thanked Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-Falcon Heights) for her many years of dedication to the project and for carrying the legislation last session to secure the funding. He also extended gratitude to Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) for his long-standing support of the project. 

At the event, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) together with MnDOT announced a $31.8 million federal grant for station and rail segment improvements to double passenger rail service and increase freight efficiency along the corridor that connects the Twin Cities, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Chicago.

The 411-mile corridor between St. Paul and Chicago will be served by two daily round trips, with departures planned for each city in the morning and mid-day. The first year of service is projected to serve more than 124,000 riders.