Impact of Oberstar’s Proposed Legislation on NLX

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 5:52 am

Congressman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional district is pushing for legislation the Obama administration wants to delay for 18 months.   Oberstar spoke, Wednesday,  on the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 2009, which is being considered by the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

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Those against the bill say it is too expensive, and argue that no real plans are in place to pay for it.  John Ongaro from St. Louis County says Oberstar’s proposed bill will impact the future of the Northern Lights Express (NLX), the proposed rail line between Minneapolis and Duluth with stops in Pine County.  Ongaro spoke on the issue, Wednesday, the NLX’s Rail Alliance meeting at the Pine County Courthouse.

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Ongaro adds that regardless of the outcome of Oberstar’s legislation, the Alliance will continue to pursue federal dollars.

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Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the Alliance received an update on the reworking of its Joint Powers Alliance Budget funding formula, which was requested by Pine County representative Doug Carlson.  Pine County’s payment is decreased from $20,000 to $15,ooo, while payments for other counties like Anoka increased.   Representatives whose counties are facing an increase say they can not ask for more money in this economy.  Commissioner Dan Erhart encouraged them to find a way.

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