Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Duluth flip-flop

It’s a hundred and fifty mile corridor between Minneapolis and Duluth. It just amkes sense to provide sensible transportation service between one substantial town and a major transportation hub. Folks in Minnesota are just too darned smart for this kind of stuff. I know they will pull it out.

The Star- Tribune has a comprehensive report.

But if the 150-mile line has lost steam in Duluth, it’s come to a stop in Carlton County.

Officials there say they want no part in funding a line that runs through, but doesn’t stop, in their county.

And then there’s the case of Sandstone, which has been told cities aren’t invited to rail corridor planning sessions. But Sandstone officials not only continue to show up at meetings, asking for a stop, they have come up with a blueprint for an $8 million station, Ongaro said.

“We’re thrilled by Sandstone’s persistence,” he said. “We just wish that everyone along the corridor would have half the amount of enthusiasm Sandstone has.”

Ongaro is based in Duluth, long thought to be the engine driving this line. That left a few officials “in total shock” when Duluth’s City Council recently voted, 4-3, against paying the city’s share of $40,000 toward a $300,000 feasibility study that was begun almost a year ago and is near completion, Ongaro said. The study is expected to be presented to the Federal Rail Authority in December — a crucial meeting for a line that expects 80 percent of its costs to be covered by federal funding.

Yet, with that deadline looming, two key City Council members were missing for the Duluth vote. A second vote has been scheduled for Monday.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Regional USA Passenger Rail

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November 2007


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