In Spending Proposal Gov. Walz Sets Funds Aside for Northern Lights Project

$11 million suggested for passenger rail systems.

DULUTH, Minn.- The proposed Northern Lights Express Rail System, that would connect Duluth to the Twin Cities, is seeing new life in Governor Tim Walz’s first capital spending proposal.

The proposal  calls for $11 million to leverage federal matching funds for passenger rail systems like the Northern Lights Express in Duluth.

“The next step in the process is to secure the money in the bonding bill,” said Ken Buehler, Executive Director of the North Shore Scenic Railroad.

“Whether it be the 11 million the Governor suggested, what Representative Mary Murphy is working on in her house bonding bill,  what the senate says in its bonding bill, will determine how much state money there is to match and to leverage into these federal dollars.”

Railroad officials say that any money put forward by the state multiplies four times in federal dollars, because federal funds match 80–20.

Later in march the vice president of Amtrak will come and meet with Duluth officials to further discussions.

According to Buehler, this is piquing interest from all sides.

“Our website is getting sky-rocketed hits, because people see that, wait a minute, we CAN do this.”

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