Dear Members and Friends,
It has been a busy week in Washington DC and in the Minnesota Legislature. In case you missed it, President Trump’s budget proposal eliminates all funding for AMTRAK long distance trains, and cost sharing for new State supported intercity trains. And, despite the urging of our members and others around the State, the Legislature did not include funding for new State supported interstate passenger trains in the Omnibus Budget. That’s the bad news…
The worst case scenario? If these budgets are approved without modification, Minnesota will lose all intercity passenger trains! The Empire Builder will cease to exist, and development of new State supported trains will be stopped.
The good news is that it is not too late to act…here’s how:
Contact your US Senators and your district congressperson and urge them to reinstate funding for AMTRAK long distance trains and State funded intercity trains in the Congressional Transportation budget. Find their contact information here
Contact Governor Dayton and urge him to maintain funding for the MNdot Passenger Rail Office. This office coordinates the planning for new intercity trains like the Northern Lights express to Duluth, and Twin Cities Hiawatha to Chicago. Also, request that he provides additional funds for development of intercity trains in his budget proposal. Telephone his office at: 651-201-3400.
A lesson learned from our previous legislative contacts: Many of the legislators confuse intercity rail with urban Transit…LRT etc. Make clear that you are supporting AMTRAK, Empire Builder and intercity trains.
If the Empire Builder is discontinued, the Twin Cities and the following Greater Minnesota cities will lose their intercity train service: La Crescent (La Crosse), Winona, Redwing, St Cloud, Staples/Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Moorhead (Fargo) and East Grand Forks (Grand Forks). The discontinuation of the Northern Lights Express project would also affect Cambridge, Hinkley, and Duluth/Superior.
WE CAN’T LET CITIES LIKE THESE LOSE THEIR TRAIN SERVICE. PLEASE CALL TODAY!
If you know people from these locations or elsewhere who would be willing to help, please forward this note to them.