Upper Midwest Rail Summit 6/1/18

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Friday June 1, Upper Midwest Rail Summit! 

In conjunction with the Rail Users Network ( RUN )  All Aboard Minnesota is hosting a day-long rail summit for broad public outreach about what is happening for expanded rail passenger service in the upper Midwest.  In addition to speakers from Amtrak, MNDOT, WisDOT and others, there will be several rail advocacy groups represented for a very dynamic afternoon round-table forum!   All Aboard Minnesota invites all members to attend this unique and groundbreaking event!

Winona: Learn About Second Amtrak Train Benefits 3/27/18

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Tuesday March 27, Winona public outreach forum

All Aboard Minnesota in conjunction with Amtrak will be conducting a public forum to advocate and educate about the need for a second train frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago through Winona.  Our goal is to get citizens excited about this new service and put pressure on the legislature to fund it!  All members of All Aboard Minnesota are invited to attend.

MnDot State Rail Passenger Office Funding Request

MnDot State Rail Passenger Office funding request      

www.allaboardmn.org

Hello All Aboard Minnesota Members –

The MnDot State Rail Passenger office recently submitted a 2018 capital funding request to Governor Mark Dayton for $1 million to complete environmental work and service planning for the second train frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago.  An additional $3million was requested for the state’s share of the final design.  This funding is essential for continued passenger rail corridor development for this expanded service.

You may have seen an article published in the StarTribune recently about legislators efforts to stop high speed rail passenger planning between the Twin Cities and Chicago.  We are advocating for the additional conventional passenger rail passenger service, not high speed rail.

If the $4 million is included in the Governor’s proposed budget,  it will give the state rail passenger office hope that funding could be available to continue the vital planning work for the second conventional passenger train frequency.

  • PLEASE CALL GOVERNOR DAYTON, AND TELL HIM TO INCLUDE THE MnDOT STATE RAIL PLANNING OFFICE REQUEST OF $1 MILLION AND $3 MILLION TO CONTINUE THEIR WORK FOR EXPANDED PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE.  
  • The Governor’s phone is:  651-201-3400 


The Governor’s budget is scheduled to be released on January 16, 2018, so it is imperative you contact him this week.

We were instrumental in our calling campaign to restore funding just to keep the State Rail Passenger office open during last years session, so we do make a vital difference!  Your voices are heard!

Thank you for taking action and making this important call.
All Aboard Minnesota Board of Directors

P.S.  We have posted this alert on our Facebook page as well.

2017 Annual Member Meeting

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Fall 2017 Annual Membership Meeting – You are Invited!  

www.allaboardmn.org

The fall “all-member” meeting of All Aboard Minnesota will be held
on Saturday, November 18, 2017.  YOU are invited!

Find out about all the exciting initiatives happening around passenger rail in Minnesota! We need you to make it all happen!   See below for details.

The meeting will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, located on 8600 Freemont Ave, South in Bloomington,  MN. Go in the main entrance on the south side of the church, walk straight back and down the hall on the left to the lounge.  There will be signs to direct you.

For directions to the church, please click on this link:  http://www.ctkb.org/contact-us/

Timing:

  • Doors will open at 9:00am Refreshments will be provided.
  • The meeting will begin at 9:30am
  • Will conclude at 12:00noon.  A light lunch will be provided.

We have an exciting agenda planned including: 

  • Outreach plans for 2018 – we are going to get legislators phones to ring, learn how!
  • Speakers:

    • ​Dan Krom – Director MnDot State Rail passenger office – Update 
    • Alice Hausman – MN House Rep and DFL lead for the Transportation Finance Committee – update on funding for passenger rail and the 2018 legislative outlook
    • Anne Buckvold – community organizer in the St. Cloud area – what works for our cause
  • Working committees – we need your help – learn how you can get involved according to your interest!  

We will break into the following committees to organize and move our cause forward
(
there will be opportunities to participate in numerous areas for those who might be interested).  A board member will describe what we need for each committee and ask for your input as we move these committees into 2018:    

  • Membership  
  • Legislative
  • Communications
  • Outreach 

Members are asked to RSVP in advance Reservations will be accepted up until
Thursday November 16.  Please rsvp your reservation to AAMN at:

Email;  allaboardminnesota@gmail.com;

Or, please call 612-781-2894 and leave a message 

We are excited to see you.  Together, we can expand passenger rail for Minnesota and the upper mid-west!

Member Meeting 4/29/17

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Spring 2017 Annual Membership Meeting – You are Invited!  

www.allaboardmn.org

The spring “all-member” meeting of All Aboard Minnesota will be held
on Saturday, April 29, and… YOU are invited!

We are fighting to save passenger rail in Minnesota! We need you!   See below for details.

The meeting will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, located on 8600 Freemont Ave, South in Bloomington,  MN.

  • Doors will open at 9:00am 
  • The meeting will begin at 9:30am
  • Will conclude at 12:00noon.  Go in the main entrance on the south side of the church, walk straight back and down the hall on the left to the lounge.  There will be signs to direct you.

Refreshments will be provided in the morning, and at 12:00noon, we will provide a light lunch.  For directions, please click on this
link:  http://www.ctkb.org/contact-us/

We have an exciting agenda planned including:  

  • The All Aboard Minnesota board has been busy on the state and federal level legislative front-we will give an update on what we know, what we have done, and what actions we plan to take 
    • ​We will share an interesting survey results about passenger rail in Minnesota  
  • Working committees – we need your help – All Aboard Minnesota is forming member committees, learn how you can get involved according to your interest!  

We will break into the following committees to organize and move our cause forward
(
there will be opportunities to participate in numerous areas for those who might be interested).  A board member will describe what we need for each committee and ask for your input as we form these:     

  • Membership  
  • Legislative
  • Communications
  • Outreach

Next Steps, Questions and Answers

Members are asked to RSVP in advance Reservations will be accepted up until
Thursday April 27.  Please rsvp your reservation to AAMN at:

Email;  allaboardminnesota@gmail.com;

Or please call 612-781-2894 and leave a message 

We are excited to see you.  Together, we can save passenger rail for Minnesota and the upper midwest!

Contact Your Legislator About Funding Cuts

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.

AAMN Response to Empire Builder Article by Star Tribune

To our members;

On Dec 24 the StarTribune ran an article on the Empire Builder.  We felt it was good coverage, but felt it needed some further context. Our response to the article is below.   Please forward this response to your elected officials or otherwise get the word out about our cause.  Thank you and Happy New Year!

All Aboard Minnesota Board.

 

 

Dear Mr. Peterson:

 

Your article about Amtrak’s Empire Builder correctly stated that ridership has definitely increased, and the benefits it provides over driving and flying.  Your article also mentions more frequencies for Amtrak service.  All Aboard Minnesota, a non-profit group whose mission is to advocate and educate for more rail passenger service for the state of Minnesota, is strongly in support of a second train frequency from the Twin Cities to Chicago.  Studies have shown that more than 200 riders would use the service each way, every day, and this service would attract new ridership.1

 

We are also strongly in support of a stop for passenger trains in Minneapolis, in addition to St. Paul Union Depot (SPUD).  While we applaud the renovation of SPUD, we believe a stop is necessary in Minneapolis/Hennepin County as the almost two thirds of the Twin Cities population reside there, and SPUD may be geographically undesirable for many.  While we believe it could be higher, MnDot estimates that perhaps an additional 20,000 riders would use current Amtrak service if a Minneapolis stop were made available.2   

 

Your article mentions “dips” in Amtrak’s ridership.  Actually, Amtrak’s overall ridership has actually increased now for at least five consecutive years.  Amtrak carried a record 31.3 million passengers in 2016, 400,000 more than last year, and the sixth consecutive year Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers.3

 

Amtrak’s long distance services currently comprise 15 different routes, and for Amtrak’s Fiscal Year 2016 seven of these routes have seen increases in ridership over 2015, the Empire Builder being one of them.  As a group, the long-distance trains carried 3.2 percent more passengers in 2016 versus 2015.4 This is in spite of, as you pointed out, record low gas prices and additional competition.

 

The Minnesota legislature needs to adequately fund more rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation network.  This would connect the Twin Cities to rural parts of the state, and would provide true options for the elderly, college students and others who often cannot drive or fly.

 

We can no longer solely rely on highway funding to meet all of our transportation needs. Rail passenger services requires less cost to add service versus new highways or airways, is environmentally friendlier, and offers comfort and safety that is superior compared to driving and buses.  For more information about All Aboard Minnesota, please visit our website:  www.allaboardmn.org;  Thank you for your article and consideration of this response.

 

Best Regards,

 

Brian W. Nelson-President

All Aboard Minnesota

 

Sources:

  1. MnDot State Rail Passenger office study
  2. MnDot
  3. Amtrak
  4. Amtrak