NLX Group Meets in Pine County

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 at 11:41 am

picture-640The Northern Lights Rail Alliance met in Pine County, Wednesday, to discuss the proposed high speed rail line between Duluth and Minneapolis, known as the Northern Lights Express (NLX).  The proposed project would include stops in Pine County.

Gary Cerkvenick, with Costin Group Inc., told the Alliance board that the cost of the project is $595 million, that includes a 20-percent non-federal match. The cost of construction is $550 million and the other $45 million is for engineering.

Anoka County Commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Rail Alliance, Dan Erhart, said the project is picking up steam:

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Erhart and Jeff Davidman of the Rail Alliance  said another good sign for the project is the recent support of the rail line from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Erhart said Pawlenty’s support is “very significant.”

Earlier this month, Pawlenty directed Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel and the Minnesota Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation Forum to study all potential future rail lines in Minnesota.  Rail lines that Governor Pawlenty directed to be considered in the statewide study includes the Northern Lights Express.

Steve Novak of Anoka also stated his excitement with recent support of Governor Pawlenty.

Hear Novak’s statements:

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The project picked up support from both the City of Duluth and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.  Duluth Mayor Don Ness told the board, despite opposition in the past, he and the city council are in favor of the project.

A representative with the Mille Lacs Band said they are willing to work with the Alliance.  The Band conducted a study of the rail line and based on the results believe it is beneficial to place a stop at the Grand Casino Hinckley.

The alliance board will again meet in Pine County on May 27th.

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