All Aboard Minnesota urges Minnesota House and Senate Transportation Leaders to fund passenger rail expansion

May 3, 2022

Recently, All Aboard Minnesota sent communication to Minnesota House and Senate Transportation Leaders to fund passenger rail expansion. As the session winds down and final decisions are being made, All Aboard Minnesota is doing everything we can to get funding for more passenger rail this session. The current session is scheduled to end May 23. You can do your part to contact your Minnesota House Representative and Senator, and the Governor's office. More contact information can be found in this site, in the "Get Involved - Your Voice" tab. The letter we sent is below:

Hello -

On behalf of All Aboard Minnesota's 2,500 members and friends throughout the state, we urge the House and Senate to include in the final Transportation Omnibus bill the $26M in funds as outlined in HF 3160 and SF 3682 to study expanded and new passenger rail service in Minnesota.

These bills provides funds for MnDOT to study (preliminary design, construction, environmental impact, and economic benefits in accordance with the state rail plan ) four key elements:

  1. Extending the 2nd train frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago to Fargo/Moorhead on a daytime schedule.
  2. New passenger train service from the Twin Cities south to Northfield, Albert Lea, Des Moines, and Kansas City connecting Minnesotans directly with Amtrak service to the west coast.
  3. A dedicated passenger main line that will be needed between the St. Paul and Minneapolis downtowns that will allow the 2nd train to reach Minneapolis, (current terminus St. Paul) also serve as a vital link for the Twin Cities to Duluth (NLX) service to serve St. Paul (proposed current terminus Minneapolis).
  4. A maintenance facility to service new passenger rail trains.

Please note that in order to apply for Federal Matching Grants now available in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 appropriated by Congress, these studies will need to be completed. Competition is fierce for these funds. If Minnesota doesn't act quickly, another state will reap the rewards. If we don't act quickly, our taxpayers will effectively be subsidizing intercity passenger rail in another state. The completion of these studies will advance the Minnesota State Rail Plan significantly.

These new routes, based upon existing infrastructure, potential ridership, and population served offer the greatest assurance for success that will serve about 70% of the state’s population (excluding the Twin Cites metro area). Many Minnesotans, college students, families, elderly, and people with disabilities either cannot or don't want to drive or fly. New passenger service also offers the communities they serve and the state a three to one economic return (for every dollar invested, three are returned.)

Highways and airways can no longer serve the transportation needs of all Minnesotans. We urge you to fund this legislation.

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us.

Brian Nelson

All Aboard Minnesota