Amtrak Offers Commuter Rail Test Drive

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When legislators convene at the Capitol Tuesday they will debate, among many measures, Gov. Jesse Ventura's bonding bill proposal, which includes $120 million for the Northstar Commuter rail line as its biggest outlay.

The project is a planned commuter rail line running between St. Cloud and downtown Minneapolis.

For those interested in the project, Amtrak brought two of the rail cars to the Twin Cities Monday for potential rail commuters to examine, WCCO 4 News reported.

The proposed 82-mile rail line would use existing track alongside highways 10 and 47 with supporters contending the entire trip would take under 90 minutes with 11 stops of about 45 seconds each. It is billed as a way to limit metro traffic congestion and nurture close ties between the Twin Cities and St. Cloud while offering a relaxing, easy commute. The project is being supported jointly by the state Department of Transportation and the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, along with several regional political agencies including the Metropolitan Council. The rail project has been opposed by Republicans who control the House and supported by the DFL-controlled Senate.

Supporters of the St. Cloud commuter rail line supporters have created a Web site about the project.