April Update

April Legislative Update

Further planning work on the TCMC Second Train project is in jeopardy.

According to Dan Krom of the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) Passenger Rail Office, “MnDOT/the Administration’s office appropriations request is for $900,000 for each year of the biennium of which some funding may be used for the TCMC Second Train project. The House and Senate versions of omnibus transportation bills provide NO funding for passenger rail activities. Without this funding MnDOT will not be able to continue project work as the office will be eliminated.“

This means beginning July 1, 2017, MnDOT would no longer be able to lead the planning work for the Twin Cities – Milwaukee – Chicago (TCMC) Second Train, nor any work on other passenger rail projects across the state. Minnesota cities and towns along the planned passenger rail routes will not realize the economic benefits or rail safety improvements that will come from these projects.

It may be possible for Passenger Rail Office funding to be included in a bonding bill – this was how the office was most recently funded. Krom adds, “MnDOT/the Administration’s capital request is for $1 million in bonding which includes up to $500,000 for the TCMC Second Train Phase 2 study work.”

There is still time for the legislature to put together a bonding bill that includes funding for expanded passenger rail.

Constituent phone calls and emails can make a big difference. If expanded passenger rail is important to you, please contact the legislators listed below and let them know how you feel.

Rep. Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House, 651-296-5364

rep.kurt.daudt@house.mn

Sen. Paul Gazelka, Senate Majority Leader, 651-296-4875

sen.paul.gazelka@senate.mn

Rep. Dean Urdahl, Chair, Capital Investment Committee, 651-296-4344

rep.dean.urdahl@house.mn

Sen. David Senjem, Chair, Capital Investment Committee, 651-296-3903

sen.david.senjem@senate.mn

Governor Mark Dayton, @GovMarkDayton, Toll Free: 800-657-3717

Email contact form

Resources

MNHSR Get Involved webpage (what you can do, tips on contacting legislators, etc.)
TCMC Speaking Points
MnDOT’s TCMC web page
TCMC Second Train webpage

More information

The Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission, which approved a resolution in January supporting continued funding of state passenger rail investment, believes passenger rail investments are good for Minnesota’s economy, the environment, and will create jobs. Investment in passenger rail infrastructure will benefit freight rail capacity, resulting in more cost-effective transportation of goods, as well as, increased railroad safety.

Support for MnDOT’s Passenger Rail Office

For more information, please contact Kevin Roggenbuck, Senior Transportation Planner, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, at (651) 266-2790 or kevin.roggenbuck@co.ramsey.mn.us.

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