New Passenger Rail Legislation
February 15, 2022
Two new significant passenger rail bills have been recently introduced for the 2022 Minnesota Legislature. Rep Alice Hausman introduced HF 3160, which contains $26M for MnDOT to study two corridors: 1. Extending the 2nd Train Frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago to Fargo/Moorhead on a day time schedule, and 2. The Twin Cities to Northfield, Owatonna, Faribault, Albert Lea, Des Moines, and Kansas City. This route is known as the "Spine Line" and would connect Minnesotans to the California Zephyr service to San Francisco, and the Southwest Chief service to Los Angeles. The bill also contains funds for MnDOT to study the dedicated passenger main line between St. Paul and Minneapolis, which MnDOT has long sought, and the study of a maintenance facility at the former Amtrak Midway station in St. Paul. If enacted, this bill would move the MnDOT state rail plan along nicely. AAMN has long been propents of all aspects this bill covers and is excited that work could begin on the "Spine Line." We will keep you posted as this bill progresses.
The other major passenger rail bill is HF2682/SF2826 which was introduced in the House by Rep. Mary Murphy, and in the Senate by Senator Jerry Newton. It asks for $85 million from the General Fund to match and complete the capital expenditures to implement the Northern Lights Express from Minneapolis to Duluth. We will keep you posted on this bill as well.