Northstar commuter rail extension

A bill heard in the Legislature this week would provide $850,000 in funding to MnDOT to analyze and review the feasibility of extending the Northstar Commuter Rail to the city of St. Cloud. The Northstar currently travels on rail owned by BNSF from Target Field in Minneapolis to Big Lake, or about halfway to St. Cloud.

The commuter rail was originally intended to extend from Minneapolis to Rice, northwest of St. Cloud but projected ridership numbers were not high enough to qualify for the necessary federal funding to extend the line that far. Either a General Fund appropriation or bonding authority will need to be secured before the project could become a reality. (SF 1892)