State: About 1 in 17 Live Near Oil Train Routes in MN

State Officials Highlight Number of People Living Near MN Oil Train Routes

State transportation officials are highlighting the number of Minnesotans who live near oil train routes just as the Dayton administration is pushing for safety improvements.

The Department of Transportation estimates more than 300,000 people _ about 1 in 17 Minnesotans _ live within a half-mile of routes that move oil from North Dakota.

That’s the zone that calls for evacuation in case of accident.

MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle says in prepared remarks that five to seven trains of crude pass through the state every day, each carrying about 3.3 million gallons of oil.

Railroad companies and Republicans have resisted Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to fund safety improvements through a series of tax increases and annual fees.

The money would upgrade railroad crossings, ease congestion statewide and train more first responders.

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