(PRESS RELEASE) – Proponents of the Northern Lights Express (NLX) passenger rail proposal between Minneapolis and Duluth met with federal and Amtrak leaders recently in Washington, D.C. to advocate for funding to move the project into construction.
The passenger rail service would run between Target Field in downtown Minneapolis and downtown Duluth. It would stop in Coon Rapids.
St. Louis County Commissioners Keith Nelson and Patrick Boyle and NLX Alliance Technical Advisory Committee Chair Ken Buehler met with Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, plus Senators Johnson and Baldwin, and Minnesota Representatives Pete Stauber and Angie Craig. Several Amtrak officials also met with the group.
To illustrate the need for NLX now, Nelson stressed what the train would mean for many of the tens of thousands of veterans living in the corridor.
“NLX will be a dependable way for our veterans to get to the healthcare services they deserve and earned,” Nelson said.
Stars are aligning in Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to Boyle, and the timing is right for federal funding.
“For the first time in more than 10 years, the project has the support of both of the governors and departments of transportation,” Boyle said.
The trip was successful, according to Buehler.
“We heard encouragement from our elected officials and Amtrak,” Buehler said. “This is exactly the type of growth Minnesota needs.”
The NLX Alliance, made up of governments along the 150-mile corridor, also will pursue state funding in the next legislative session.
“We’re ready to build,” Nelson said.