MnDOT gives an update on the Northern Lights Express passenger railway

MnDOT gives update on Northern Lights Express railway

The NLX project has been talked about for over a decade. Today MnDOT outlining what still needs to be done to get the project underway.

The highly anticipated Northern Lights Express passenger railway is still in the planning phase. MnDOT officials meeting November 27th to provide information to the public for where the project stands.

MnDOT planning director Greg Mathis lead the meeting. He gave an update on where they are currently and where the plan is headed next.

Mathis says though the state of Minnesota has provided funding this will only cover around 20% of the total cost. In May 2023, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $194.7 million for the project.

The other 80% will need to come from grants provided by the federal government. The entire estimated cost is projected at $592.3 million.

Though nothing is concrete, developers are still coming up with plans for the railway. Mathis says that the trip would take 2.5 hours. There would be four stops along the way in Hinkley, Coon Rapids, Cambridge and Superior.

The starting point would be the Target Field station in Minneapolis and the end destination would be at the Union Depot station in Duluth.

According to the MnDOT website, these are the next steps in the process:

  • Secure capital and operating funding
  • Complete all necessary agreements with BNSF Railway and Amtrak
  • Final design and construction
  • Implementation of service

Developers say that every step in the construction process would create jobs for Minnesotans. They also project that this would create $400 million in tourism revenue.

For more information, visit the MnDOT website.