MN Governor Proposes Full Funding for Commuter Rail

ANOKA, Minn. -- Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura presented his capital budget recommendations on January 14 and highlighted full funding for the Northstar Commuter Rail Project as a chief priority in his $746 million bonding package.

Adhering to his principle that capital projects should have a significant statewide impact, Gov. Ventura said Northstar commuter rail is a “smart investment that will have a significant impact on relieving congestion for all Minnesotans as they and out of the Twin City metropolitan area.”

In order to obtain $147 million in federal funds -- which would cover half of the project's costs -- the Minnesota Legislature must provide $120 million this year. If the money is not authorized this year, the federal funds will go to a project in another state and the commuter rail option in Minnesota will be significantly delayed.

“The Governor's bonding proposal shows he remains strongly committed to Northstar and we thank him for his leadership on this issue,” said Betsy Wergin, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority. “Northstar commuter rail -- which runs on existing tracks -- costs substantially less than upgrading Highway 10 to a freeway. While Highway 10 will still need some improvements, commuter rail will go a long way towards mitigating congestion in the corridor's most populated areas. It also helps to promote continued economic development from central Minnesota to the Twin Cities. That's why it just makes sense!”

About the Northstar Corridor rail project

The Northstar Corridor, an 80-mile stretch along highways 10 and 47 from St. Cloud to Minneapolis, is the fastest growing area in Minnesota. The NCDA is a joint powers board of 30 counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the corridor.