Local view: Minnesota’s golden opportunity for clean, economical high-speed rail – Duluth News Tribune
It’s time for the Minnesota Legislature, Governor Tim Walz, businesses and workers, environmental groups and consumers to fight for the Northern Lights Express – 152 miles of faster, energy-generating intercity passenger trains. jobs between Duluth and Minneapolis four times a day.
The Minnesota Legislature, Governor, and Department of Transportation must immediately put this project in competition with others around the country and leverage the billions of dollars dedicated to rail in the Federal Infrastructure, Investment, and Transportation Act. job of 2021.
Teamsters Joint Council 32, Minnesota Building & Construction Trades Council, Duluth Building Trades Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and the Smart TD Transportation Union are all on board. The same is true for several business groups, including the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Minneapolis Downtown Council, Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce, North 65 Chamber of Commerce, GPS : 45: 93, East Central Regional Development, Duluth Seaway Port Authority and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.
Minnesota has an estimated budget surplus of over $9 billion. We would have to put about $85 million of our surplus on the table. In return, the federal government—if it approves NLX—would add the $340 million needed to complete the project. Who wouldn’t take that ROI?
Keep in mind that the federal money would be part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act already approved by Congress. If we don’t ask for that $340 million, another state will get it, along with hundreds, if not thousands, of well-paying union jobs.
In fact, studies show that improving the construction of existing railway lines would generate some 3,000 new jobs. More than 500 jobs would be permanent.
Minnesota only gets about 65 cents for every dollar we send to Washington in taxes. Some states, mostly in the South, get more than $5. It’s time to even things out.
What would the Northern Lights Express mean to Minnesotans?
For Military Veterans: Fast, easy and affordable travel for treatment to and from Duluth, Hinckley, Cambridge or Coon Rapids to the VA Hospital in Minneapolis.
For students, seniors, sports enthusiasts, people with disabilities, and people looking for a night out in the Twin Cities or Duluth: safe, quick, and convenient travel.
For businessmen: a little over two hours of smooth and easy travel to prepare appointments.
For the environment: thousands of car journeys replaced by clean and faster trains.
What’s not to like about this offer? Let’s go with the NLX!
Trevor Lawrence, secretary-treasurer of Joint Council of Teamsters 32 and Teamsters Local Lodge 638, representing drivers and construction workers in Minnesota and North Dakota.
Nicholas Katich, Legislative Director, Sheet Metal, Air, and Transit Union
Joel Mueller, President of Division 9, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen