Omnibus Transportation Bill passes House and Senate!

June 24, 2021

The Minnesota House and the Senate have passed the bi-partisan Omnibus Transportation bill that includes money for the 2nd train between the Twin Cities and Chicago. The bill now goes to the Governor for signature. We understand that the Governor is supportive of the bill and will sign it shortly.

This means that the state appropriated $10M for the 2nd train which will leverage a $32M federal grant to complete track and signal work in Minnesota to enable the 2nd train. This work will also greatly enhance freight rail operations by reducing bottlenecks in Winona and La Crescent especially. This infrastruture work is expected to take approximately two to three years, and the 2nd train could begin rolling by 2023-24! Wisconsin and Amtrak have already committed funds for the 2nd train. The bill also included $500k for the MnDOT State Rail Passenger office.

This is a major win for passenger rail supporters throughout Minnesota and the upper-midwest, and it could pave the way for more passenger rail route expansion in the region. All Aboard Minnesota holds the view that the 2nd train will be successful right out of the gate, and will garner support for other routes, such as extending the 2nd train to Fargo/Moorhead for example.

As mentioned, this is truly a bi-partisan bill, and there was tremendous support from both parties. Transportation Committee Chairs Frank Hornstein and Senator Scott Newman were both praised for their leadership and compromise to make this bill happen. All Aboard Minnesota praises the State Legislature on getting this bill passed.