More Cities Throughout Minnesota Ask for More Rail Passenger Service

May 13, 2021

More Minnesota Cities Support Funding for Passenger Trains

City and County Governments Pass Resolutions Supporting Proposed New Passenger Rail Service

St. Paul MN - May 13, 2021. Passenger rail advocates All Aboard Minnesota announced today that several more cities have passed resolutions asking the Minnesota Legislature to fund a second passenger train frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago. This train would later be extended from St. Paul to Fargo Moorhead, per the MnDOT Passenger Rail Plan.

Cities along the extended route passing new resolutions include Anoka, Little Falls, Staples, Brainerd and Wadena. Citing economic and mobility benefits for their cities and residents, the resolutions stress that more passenger rail service is a needed transportation option.

Little Falls Mayor Greg Zylka stated: “There is very strong support for daytime rail passenger service in Little Falls. This service will help us economically and keep our city competitive. Our residents want rail service. We rely too much on roads and highways alone.”

Brainerd Mayor Dave Badeaux added: “Daytime passenger service along the existing passenger rail line stopping in Staples and Little Falls will also benefit our city, county and region. Current travelers to our city and region come through these cities now. It will be important for our residents and travelers coming to our area to have options other than just roads. We are excited about this new train.”

As previously reported, resolutions supporting the second train have also been passed by La Crescent, Winona, Red Wing and St Paul City Councils in support of a $10M legislative appropriation to match $32M in Federal infrastructure grants to initiate the service.

All Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson stated: “Cities throughout the state realize that additional passenger rail service will reap economic and mobility benefits for their cities and residents. As travel needs change with the population, more passenger rail service provides transportation equity for the State of Minnesota and travelers to our state.”

Nelson added: “ It is estimated that approximately 60% of Minnesota’s population lives within 20 miles of the current passenger line between Moorhead, St. Paul, and to La Crescent. We project that the majority of riders will come out of cars, greatly reducing congestion, and highway maintenance costs.”

City Resolutions Support New Passenger Trains

April 14, 2021

Minnesota Cities Support New Amtrak Train Twin Cities - Milwaukee - Chicago

Significant Benefits to Cities and Counties Seen - if Legislature approves $10M match to obtain $32M Federal Grant

St Paul - April 14, 2021 - Passenger rail advocates All Aboard Minnesota announced that the four Minnesota cities to be served by an additional Amtrak train from the Twin Cities to Chicago passed resolutions asking the legislature to fund the service.

St Paul, Red Wing, Winona, and La Crescent city councils recently passed resolutions noting the benefits to be gained by their communities - asking for $10 million in state funding to match a $32 million Federal grant award. These funds will be used for $40 million of infrastructure in Minnesota, to improve passenger and freight rail operations and safety.The resolutions cite the economic, mobility, environmental and connectivity benefits provided by this additional service.

Winona Mayor, Scott Sherman stated: "The additional daily train will provide a real travel option for college students, tourists and commuters alike. Much needed infrastructure improvements will greatly reduce wait times throughout the city and improve grade crossing safety. Recognizing the importance of a second train, the Winona City Council recently approved its 5th resolution in support of the project. This second train is essential to all the people who live in and travel to Winona."

Red Wing mayor, Mike Wilson added: "We are excited about this new train. It will provide Red Wing residents a travel choice they need and want, along with economic benefits to our city."

All Aboard Minnesota President, Brian Nelson observed that: "There is now a broader coalition of bi-partisan support for passenger rail expansion in Minnesota. This train could be the first leg of the MnDOT Passenger Rail plan, which expands service to 30 greater-Minnesota cities. City administrations and legislators are recognizing the mobility and positive economic benefits passenger trains can provide their communities. The entire State would receive the benefits of taking hundreds of thousands of passengers out of cars, with resulting reductions in congestion delays, pressure on roads, maintenance and safety costs and environmental impacts."

**PRESS RELEASE** Get on Board Forum Oct 30 - Fargo/Moorhead

October 16, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT

Brian W. Nelson

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 4212
St. Paul, MN 55104

612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]

Web Site Address:
www.allaboardmn.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For immediate release: October 16, 2019

October 16, 2019 (St. Paul, MN) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard
Minnesota is encouraging community members to learn more about the benefits of
proposed additional passenger train service connecting Fargo/Moorhead to the Twin Cities
and Chicago on October 30.

The Get on Board forum takes place Wednesday, October 30, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30
p.m. at the Hjemkomst Community Center Auditorium in Moorhead, MN. All Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson stated: "Fargo/Moorhead is currently served by Amtrak's Empire Builder passenger train, but that train eastbound and westbound comes through in the early morning hours. We are proposing, along with the MnDOT State Rail Plan, daytime passenger service that will offer great convenience for the traveling public connecting Fargo/Moorhead to the Twin Cities and beyond." A representative from MnDOT will attend the forum to answer questions about this proposed new service.

All Aboard Minnesota estimates that an additional 100,000 riders would ride the new train between Fargo/Moorhead and the Twin Cities alone. Nelson added: "Not only are there mobility benefits, especially for those who can't or don't wish to drive or fly, but there are significant economic benefits this new passenger train service would provide for Fargo/Moorhead and the state."

Nelson will present the details and benefits of the proposed additional service. Nelson said: "We believe more passenger rail service is a great step towards a more connected Minnesota. Even though the Empire Builder passes through in the middle of the night, over 20,000 people from the Fargo/Moorhead area each year use this train. Ridership would be much stronger in the daytime." According to Amtrak figures, over 140,000 Minnesotans and 103,000 North Dakotans annually use the Empire Builder. “Offering more passenger train service from Fargo/Moorhead to the Twin Cities and Chicago expands mobility opportunities not only for travelers between the these major metropolitan areas, but for all of the other communities in between," Nelson added.

About All Aboard Minnesota
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and educational organization focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast, comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to the upper Midwest.

For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.

2019 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.

Amtrak's Empire Builder Threatened

October 8, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson

P.O. Box 4212, St. Paul, MN 55104
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]

Web Site Address:
www.allaboardmn.org



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For immediate release: October 8, 2019 Amtrak Empire Builder Service Could Be Threatened
Buses could substitute rail passenger service west of Minneapolis, St. Paul, MN

October 8, 2019 (St.Paul, MN) Passenger rail advocacy groups All Aboard Minnesota and the Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers (WISARP) learned that Amtrak looked into the possibility of cancelling the Empire Builder passenger train west of the Twin Cities, replacing rail service with buses during the summer of 2018. The plan would have bused passengers from the Twin Cities, to Spokane, WA, where rail service would resume. We understand the current stations along the impacted route would be served.

A source within Amtrak, and a bus company in the Twin Cities confirmed this information. All Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson stated "We knew Amtrak was looking into annulling the Southwest Chief between Dodge City, KS and Albuquerque, NM with a bus plan, but we were surprised that Amtrak would consider that plan with the Empire Builder. Over 140, 000 Minnesotans and over 450,000 people every year rely on the Empire Builder for their transportation needs. It is one of the most heavily used trains in the United States," Nelson added.

Rail advocates maintain that bus service replacing rail service would kill the route eventually. Roads and highways in North Dakota and Montana in the winter can be impassible, and the train can be the only reliable form of transportation in these areas. WISARP Vice President Terry Brown stated "We are very concerned about any bus plan. Thousands of Wisconsin citizens travel on the Empire Builder west every year for vacations, to visit family, friends, and business purposes."

Amtrak has stated their new business model favors short haul "corridors," and discontinuing many of the long distance trains like the Empire Builder. All Aboard Minnesota is strongly supportive of new corridor service in Minnesota, such as an additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago along the Empire Builder route, and service between the Twin Cities and Duluth. "We absolutely need more rail passenger service in Minnesota as part of a balanced transportation system. Over 70% of Minnesotans favor more service*, but definitely not at the expense of our existing Empire Builder," Nelson stated.

Congress last summer told Amtrak to run a national system, and thus far no long distance trains have been annulled or canceled, but rail advocates believe the bus plan threat could be renewed. All Aboard Minnesota and WISARP will be contacting their US Congressional delegation, asking that money appropriated for Amtrak be tied to running a truly national system, and not discontinuing long distance trains like the Empire Builder. Brown stated "Many people either don't want to or cannot drive or fly. The train is a necessity for them and is far easier to travel on than a bus."

About All Aboard Minnesota
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast, comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to the upper Midwest.

For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.

*Survey conducted by UTU-Smart-TD Minnesota

Rally Indicates Statewide Support for More Passenger Trains

March 12, 2019

For immediate release: March 12, 2019

Supporters Rally at the State Capitol for more Passenger Trains in Minnesota
Event activated supporters of passenger rail expansion to meet with their legislators

March 12, 2019 (St.Paul, MN) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard Minnesota conducted a rally for more passenger train service in Minnesota at the State Capitol on March 6, 2019. More than 70 supporters from around the state attended, coming from Brainerd, Winona, Red Wing, St. Cloud, Duluth and the Twin Cities metro area.

The event spurred action for supporters to meet individually with their legislators for more passenger rail service as defined in the MnDOT passenger rail plan. Supporters reported that their legislators were positive for legislation to fund more passenger service,

The event highlighted new planned service from the Twin Cities to Duluth, and additional service between the Twin Cities and Chicago, with extended services to St.Cloud and Fargo eventually bringing new and expanded service to 25 out-state communities.

Representatives Dan Wolgamott, Alice Hausman, Frank Hornstein, and Senators Melisa Franzen, Jerry Newton, and Senate President Jeremy Miller all spoke at the event in support of more passenger train service for the state. Representative Hausman stated: "Many other Midwestern states are investing in passenger rail, they see the benefits. We are being left behind and it will hurt our economic competitiveness if we don't step up."

Rail advocacy groups such as the Great River Rail Commission, Northern Lights Alliance, West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition, Smart Transportation, and the Environmental Law and Policy Center presented at the event. Amtrak and MnDOT representatives also attended.

All Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson stated: "For the first time in years there is real momentum in the House and Senate to fund more passenger trains in Minnesota, with several funding bills introduced in both houses, and the Governor's Bonding request for $11m. Now is the perfect time to raise awareness within the legislature about the benefits of more passenger trains."

"More passenger trains offer tremendous economic and mobility benefits," Nelson added. "The additional service between the Twin Cities and Chicago would alone generate about $23M in net benefit to the state, along with reducing 15 million car miles in this corridor when this new service is provided.* For many types of travelers who do not like or cannot drive or fly, the train offers a real alternative," Nelson added.

About All Aboard Minnesota
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast, comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to the upper Midwest.

For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.

*Rail Passenger Association report "Impacts from a Second Train to Minnesota." Full report can be found: https://www.allaboardmn.org/riding-on-a-train/economic-and-environmental-benefits-of-passenger-rail/

2019 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.

Get on Board Forum in St. Cloud Press Release

September 12, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For immediate release: September 12, 2018
Get on Board forum is September 26 in St. Cloud
Event to educate and activate supporters of passenger rail expansion


September 12, 2018 (St. Cloud, MN) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard
Minnesota is encouraging community members to learn more about the benefits of
proposed additional passenger train service connecting St. Cloud to Fargo, the Twin Cities
and Chicago on September 26.


The Get on Board forum takes place Wednesday, September 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30
p.m. at the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud. "There has been discussion of
extending the Northstar commuter service to St. Cloud. We will discuss the differences
between commuter rail service and long distance Amtrak type passenger service" said All
Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson. “We will focus on how those in and around St.
Cloud will benefit personally, the advantages of adding more long distance rail passenger
service, and what citizens can do to make these plans happen.”


Nelson will present details of the proposed additional passenger train service and believes
more train service is a great step towards a more connected Minnesota. “Did you know that
139,000 Minnesotans annually use the one train we have currently, the "Empire
Builder?" said Nelson. “Offering more passenger train service through St. Cloud to the Twin
Cities and Chicago expands mobility opportunities not only for travelers between the two
major metropolitan areas, but for all of the other communities in between.”


About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization
focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as
part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast,
comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to
the upper Midwest.


For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the
Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.
2018 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective

Press Release - First Ever Upper Midwest Rail Summit

May 24, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For immediate release: May 24, 2018
First Ever Upper Midwest Regional Passenger Rail Summit June 1, 2018


Event to educate and activate stakeholders and the public on passenger rail expansion,
including Amtrak, commuter rail, and light rail transit.


May, 24 2018 (St. Paul, MN ) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard Minnesota in
conjunction with The Rail Users Network is encouraging community members throughout
the upper Midwest to learn more about plans for more rail passenger service as part of a
balanced transportation network with a public event on June 1, 2018.
The event will offer an opportunity to see the proposed plans for more rail service between
the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago, Duluth, Des Moines and Kansas City, in addition to
what the proposed plans are for more commuter and light rail service around the Twin
Cities metro area. The event will offer the opportunity to learn about large scale benefits for
the economy that passenger rail represents, as well as what community members can do to
make these proposed plans happen.


The Upper Midwest Regional Passenger Rail Summit takes place Friday, June 1, from
8:00am to 4:30pm, at the downtown Minneapolis Hennepin County Central Library,
located at 300 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, MN. “Anyone who currently uses passenger
rail service and advocates of alternative transportation are all great audiences for this
event,” said All Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson. “We will focus on how those in
the upper Midwest will benefit personally and the economic benefits of adding more rail
passenger service.” Richard Rudolph, Chairman of the Rail Users Network added, “This
first ever regional rail summit for the upper Midwest will offer a very holistic view of the plans
for long distance service and light rail transit, and what additional rail service can do to
balance the transportation picture for all citizens.”


Speakers include Brian Lamb-General Manager of Metro Transit to give an update on light
and commuter rail expansion, MN House Rep. Alice Hausman to provide her view on
funding for passenger rail in Minnesota, Dan Krom-MnDot State Rail Passenger office
director to give an update on the State Passenger Rail plan, Kevin Brubaker –
Environmental Law & Policy Center to discuss how additional rail passenger service has
benefited communities in the upper Midwest, among other speakers.


The afternoon will include a round-table forum from the leading rail advocacy groups from
the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota to discuss their plans for making more rail
service a reality. Nelson believes additional rail service is essential for a more connected
Minnesota. “For too long, Minnesota has mainly focused on transportation funding for
roads, bridges and airways exclusively. Our peer states, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and
Missouri have recognized that additional passenger rail services can be added for less cost,
provide great mobility benefits, are definitely greener that cars or airplanes, and should be
part of a balanced transportation system,” said Nelson. Rudolf offered, “We are excited to
have this meeting in Minnesota. There is so much potential for additional rail services and if
the public is educated about it, they will realize the benefits for the economy and mobility
that other transportation options cannot provide.”


About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization
focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as
part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast,
comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to
the upper Midwest.
For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the
Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.
About Rail Users Network.
Rail Users Network is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization which promotes an extended and
positive rail passenger experience throughout the US. Rail Users Network can be reached
on line at: www.railusers.net; http://www.railusers.net
2018 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective

Get on Board Forum in Winona Press Release

March 12, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For immediate release: March 12, 2018
Get on Board forum is March 27 in Winona
Event to educate and activate supporters of passenger rail expansion


March 12, 2018 (Winona, MN) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard Minnesota in
conjunction with Amtrak is encouraging community members to learn more about plans for
a second daily train between the Twin Cities and Chicago with a public event on March 27.
The event will offer an opportunity to see the proposed plans of the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-
Chicago Second Train and learn about large scale benefits for the economy and the
Winona area, as well as what community members can do to make these proposed plans
happen.


The Get on Board forum takes place Tuesday, March 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the
Winona County History Center located at 160 Johnson St. in Winona. “Anyone who currently
uses Amtrak service, fans of alternative transportation, college students, and those who
seek another way to see our region are all great audiences for this event,” said All Aboard
Minnesota President Brian Nelson. “We will focus on how those in and around Winona will
benefit personally and the overall benefits of adding more rail passenger service.”


Nelson will present details of the Second Train service. Winona Mayor Mark Peterson will
provide an introduction. Derrick James, Senior Manager of Amtrak’s Government Affairs
Midwest Region will talk about how additional state corridor services benefit communities.
Nelson believes the Second Train is a great step towards a more connected Minnesota.
“Did you know that 41 percent of Winona college students have taken Amtrak to college at
least once?” said Nelson. “Offering a second train between the Twin Cities and Chicago
expands opportunities not only for travelers between the two major metropolitan areas, but
for all of the other communities in between.”


About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization
focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as
part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast,
comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to
the upper Midwest.
For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the
Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.
2018 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective

Minnesota Could Lose Passenger Trains - Press Release

April 24, 2017

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Minnesota in danger of losing inter-city passenger trains
Trump budget eliminates AMTRAK Empire Builder train. No funds provided in State
budget for existing or planned passenger service.
St. Paul, Minnesota (April 24, 2017)


The Twin Cities Metro and 10 outstate cities will be without ALL inter-city rail service under
the Trump Transportation budget. Reductions call for eliminating long distance Amtrak
trains like the Empire Builder, currently the only inter-city passenger train serving
Minnesota. The Empire Builder provides service to Chicago and the West coast including
service to the Twin Cities Metro, Fargo/Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Staples/Brainerd, St
Cloud, Red Wing, Winona and La Crosse/La Crescent.


On the state level, the house and senate omnibus transportation bills completely eliminate
all funding for MNDOT’S state rail planning office. If that office does not get funding,
additional planning for expanded rail passenger service for Minnesotans would cease. It
would eliminate the projects to initiate service from Minneapolis Target Field to Duluth via
Cambridge and Hinckley, from St. Paul to Milwaukee and Chicago, and proposed service
from the Twin Cities to Des Moines and Kansas City.


Amtrak is the only public passenger transportation service in an increasing number of
communities that lack intercity bus and airline service, especially in rural Minnesota. The
Empire Builder served 146,689 Minnesota residents for their transportation needs during
2016, which is up 5.8% from 2015. The train over its whole route carried almost 450,000
passengers in 2016*. Planned additional service between the Twin Cities metro area,
Duluth and Chicago could add over 700,000 riders per year.


From an economic standpoint, Amtrak employs Minnesota residents, paying out almost
$3.4 million in wages and benefits, and spending almost $59 million on contracts and
procurements in the state during 2016. Every dollar spent on Amtrak service in a state
generates four dollars in economic activity*.


Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by DFM, a professional research firm,
demonstrated there is widespread and bi-partisan support for Amtrak. When asked if the
government should end all funding/support for Amtrak, 70 % of all interviewed, 6 0 % of
Republicans and 70% of Independents said NO! Over 80% said that funding for Amtrak
should stay the same (42%) or INCREASE (40%). Also, a clear majority, 56%, supported a
second Twin Cities -- Chicago Amtrak schedule. Modern Amtrak long distance trains trains
provide comfortable seating with ample leg and luggage room, with options to move around,
enjoy the scenery and fellow passengers.


“Legislators on the state and federal level need to understand that Amtrak long distance
trains are a needed and desired service for Minnesotans,” said Brian Nelson, President of
All Aboard Minnesota, a rail advocacy group.


The proposed legislative plan assumes the only forms of transportation that should receive
government funding are road and airway service. Rail provides a real transportation option
especially in rural areas where roads now are the only option.


“Expanding, not eliminating inter-city rail passenger service makes sense to serve
Minnesotans growing transportation needs, especially for rural Minnesota. As highways
become ever more expensive, upgrading existing rail lines to accommodate more
passenger service generally is one-tenth the cost of building new highways. Passenger
train service is also 33% more energy efficient than cars, and 20% more efficient than
airplanes.” Nelson stated.


For those citizens concerned about cuts to passenger train service in Minnesota, we urge
you contact your state and federal elected representatives today and state your opposition
to these cuts.


* Source – Amtrak
About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit advocacy and education organization
focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as
part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast,
comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to
the upper Midwest.


For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the
Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.


2017 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective

Legislators need to fund transportation – giving Minnesotans true transportation mobility

September 22, 2016

Posted on September 26, 2016


MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Legislators need to fund transportation – giving Minnesotans true transportation mobility

St. Paul, Minnesota (September 22, 2016 ) – All Aboard Minnesota was disappointed that a special session was not held to adequately fund transportation for Minnesotans. As state legislators reconvene in 2017 for a new session, we urge legislators to deliver a 2017 Transportation package that includes the $21 million needed by MnDot to fund rail passenger development on existing rail corridors designated in the State Rail Plan. The $21 million as proposed by bills HF 2791/SF2257 provides funding to expand intercity rail passenger service (Amtrak) on four key corridors within and connecting the state of Minnesota to the upper Midwest. These four main corridors are:

  1. Additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago
  2. Twin Cities to Duluth
  3. Twin Cities to Des Moines and Kansas City
  4. Additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Fargo/Moorhead

Passenger rail provides convenience and true mobility options to small communities in rural areas where airline and bus service is expensive, or lacking. It also provides travel options for college students, the disabled, and the elderly that have difficulty driving or flying. It provides all weather travel safety and reliability that other modes of transportation can’t match.

More passenger rail frequencies between the Twin Cities-Chicago, Duluth and Kansas City make sense. For the additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago alone, Amtrak and MnDOT recently released studies that found this service would be very popular. The preliminary study estimates that over 200 additional riders would be drawn to the service each way daily, giving people a lower-cost alternative to flying.

Additional frequencies and new service would create substantial new economic growth and increased tourism all along these four routes that could offset modest annual operating costs. It is estimated that for every dollar invested in passenger rail service, local communities benefit by up to four dollars that is brought by tourism, and additional services purchased.

“Amtrak has realized record passenger growth during the past three years, hauling over 30 million passengers each year. People from all generations all over the country are voting with their ridership that they want more passenger train service,” said Brian Nelson, President of All Aboard Minnesota, a citizen advocacy group promoting increased train travel options in Minnesota.

“The state of Minnesota is underserved by Amtrak,” he said, “with one single train, that operates through the state in the middle of the night west of the Twin Cities and only provides one daytime frequency to Chicago. Other states have invested in more and better train service: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, California and others. They have all seen tremendous ridership growth. Illinois doubled its train frequency and saw the trains fill up in a matter of weeks! Illinois now fills 5 trains a day from Chicago-St. Louis. It only makes sense that fast, comfortable, modern trains should be a part of a truly balanced transportation system that provides Minnesotans with mobility options,” he added.

Additionally, there is the issue of energy efficiency and environmental impact. Trains are 30% more energy-efficient than cars, 20% more efficient than airplanes, resulting in less air pollution, less highway congestion, and less reliance on expensive regional air services.

Nelson also urged Minnesotans who would benefit from additional rail passenger services to get in touch with their state and federal legislators. “Legislators need to know their constituents are in support of expanded, better, and more convenient train service,” Nelson said, “and the upcoming session in 2017 is a good time to do it… while legislators are considering transportation issues. From the evidence we see, Minnesota could add significant new train services for one tenth of the cost of new roads in many cases… not only would it benefit the entire state economy, it would also benefit citizens from all over the state!”

About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit advocacy and education organization focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast, comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to the upper Midwest.
For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.

2016 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.