Tuesday, September 30, 2008 By Aaron Brown
There has to be a better way.
Oberstar Announces Grant for Duluth to Line
– A federal grant will move the Duluth to Minneapolis high-speed passenger rail line closer to completion. Today, Congressman Jim Oberstar announced that the project has been awarded $1.1 million from the Federal Railroad Administration. The funding will be used to complete an environmental impact statement for the project.
“Work on the Northern Lights Express is moving along at full throttle,” said Oberstar. “This is the kind of project that will save energy and alleviate congestion on our highways. With high fuel prices, we need to do all we can to give consumers alternatives to driving.”
“Countless communities across the nation are waking up to the economic advantages of brining high-speed passenger rail to their towns and cities. This grant will enable the Northern Lights Express to take a giant step forward toward the very front of that long line of communities,” said Steve Raukar, Chairman of the Northern Lights Express Passenger Rail Joint Powers Board.
When completed, the Northstar Express will run 150 miles from Duluth to downtown Minneapolis at speeds of up to 110 mph. Portions of the line could become operational by the end of next year.
Investing in passenger and commuter rail has been one of Oberstar’s priorities as chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. This week, the U.S. Senate is expected to consider legislation, authored by Oberstar, to authorize additional funding for intercity rail projects and high-speed rail by $680 million a year for the next five years. When the study and design work is finished, the Duluth to Minneapolis line will be eligible to apply for that funding.