Bill to support Northern Lights Express back at the capital

The effort to restart passenger rail service from Duluth to the Twin Cities is chugging along again at the state capital.

Bills calling for $99 million in state funding are making their way through committees.

On Monday, the senate’s Transportation Committee listened to testimony from supporters.

Duluth’s senator Jen McEwen presented the bill and answered questions.

The price tag of the project has dropped significantly, from $1 billion dollars to $500 million.

If the state dedicates the $99 million, it would trigger nearly $400 million in federal funds.

The route would go from Duluth, to Superior, Hinckley, Cambridge, Coon Rapids, and Target Field.

It would still take 2.5 hours. Cost per one way trip are estimated to be around $30-$35.

A few senators mentioned they are concerned about reliability of the trains and the cost.

The bill has been laid over for potential inclusion in budget bills.