MN Passenger Rail Funding Update and Progress in Wisconsin
April 20, 2020
Minnesota House Capitol Investment Committee has sent its Bonding Bill (HF 2529) to the Ways and Means Committee in April. We were very pleased that $15M is proposed for the 2nd Train Frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago, Twin Cities to Duluth Service (NLX), and extending Northstar Commuter Rail service between Big Lake and St. Cloud. An additional $25M is also included for design and engineering of a passenger mail track between BNSF's Northtown yard and St. Paul Union Depot, which would benefit the 2nd Train terminating in Minneapolis ( versus St. Paul Union Depot ) and enabling NLX frequencies between Minneapolis and St. Paul Union Depot. This dedicated passenger main is something MnDOT has long wanted, and would benefit frieght trains as well, which would alleviate passenger trains on freight tracks.
This House bill as of this date has not yet been transmitted to the Senate. We understand that the Senate is currently working on thier Bonding Bill version, and as we've mentioned before, we've sent a communication package to Senator David Senjem, which his staff did acknowledge. We will definitely keep you posted on the progress of both versions, and let you know how you can help at the appropriate time. Thank you!
Speaking of progress, Terry Brown of the Wisconsin Association for Railroad Passengers recently interviewed Arun Rao, Passenger Rail Planner for WisDOT, and made a video of that interview. Very informative interview about all the projects/progress going on in Wisconsin, mostly around the 2nd Train, and the additional planned Hiawatha frequencies. Well worth watching.