NLX: Waiting for Approval
Posted at: 12/26/2012 10:37 AM
| Updated at: 12/26/2012 10:39 PM
It's taken two years, but the environmental assessment for the Northern Lights Express is finished. It's now in the hands of the Federal Rail Administration, which has the power to approve the work.
"Once approved, the project can move to the next step, which is preliminary engineering," said Bob Manzoline, the director of the NLX. "We've worked on the assessment a long time, and it feels good that it's done," he said. "It covers not only environmental impacts, but societal impacts as well."
Preliminary engineering could take about two more years, and cost around $8 million dollars. Funding for that is already secured with state and federal dollars.
The NLX is the proposed high speed rail line between Duluth and the Twin Cities. The estimated cost is $750 million to $1 billion dollars.
Steve Raukar, the chair of the NLX and the St. Louis and Lake Counties Regional Railroad Authority, said that the Obama administration has promised to keep funding high speed rail. And that's good news for this project.
"We are going to hold our partnership together, grow our constituency, and continue to educate people about high speed rail," he said. "We hope to see trains running on the tracks in 2015."