Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission
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Northern Lights Express Update

Amtrak Delivers Strong FY 2016 Financial Results

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MNHSR Fast Facts
The construction cost of High-Speed Rail is estimated at $7.1 million per mile from St. Paul to Milwaukee compared to $12.2 million per mile to add a lane of highway in each direction between St. Paul and Milwaukee.

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December 20, 2016
Happy Holidays!
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State Rail Director Visits Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission Meeting
The Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission was honored to host Alene Tchourumoff, the new Minnesota State Rail Director at its November 4 meeting. The position of rail director was created by Governor Mark Dayton in April 2016. The role of state rail director is to proactively address coordination of state agencies which monitor trains hauling oil and other hazardous waste, increase rail safety measures, and expand freight and passenger rail opportunities. This statewide position is the first of its kind in the nation. 
In July, Governor Dayton created a Freight Rail Council to pull industry and state agencies together. According to Tchourumoff, Governor's Council has three main goals ...

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Amtrak Reports Ridership Record
Amtrak's fiscal year 2016 financials show a revenue record of $2.14 billion and ridership numbers of a record 31.3 million passengers. Amtrak Chairman of the board Anthony Coscia says "The results demonstrate the value we deliver to our customers and the vital role Amtrak plays in our nation's transportation system. We are off to another strong start for the new fiscal year and will provide a great travel experience for customers who choose Amtrak in the upcoming holiday season."

Among many strong ridership numbers and increases, ridership for the Empire Builder route between Chicago and Seattle that serves the Mississippi River Route is up 3.7 percent. The Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee also so a record year in both ridership and revenue.

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Commission Member Spotlight 
St. Charles may not be the biggest city represented on the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission but it's representative brings a big passion to bringing faster trains to the region. City Council Member Wayne Getz has been working in a variety of public service positions for more than 20 years and has been on the St. Charles City Council since 2002. He encourages interest in high-speed rail because it is something that keeps the economy going for big cities and small cities alike.

Hear more from Wayne on the Member Spotlight 
River Route Spotlight

St. Charles is the City with a Smile and a population of under 4,000. It's known as the Gateway to Whitewater valley and was made famous by resident Carl Fischer who worked with hybrids of the gladiolus flower. Whitewater State Park attracts lots of visitors who have an interest in fishing, cross country skiing and camping through the historic town of St. Charles.

Learn more about this city on the River Route Spotlight.
MNHSR Commission Update 
This was the second MNHSR Commission meeting to take public comment on the TCMC Second Train. A number of questions or comments were provided, including technical questions about train service between Chicago and Milwaukee and a question about how the public can support the TCMC Second Train during the legislative session. Dan Krom, MnDOT Passenger Rail Office, promised to communicate MnDOT legislative priorities to the MNHSR Commission, which will share them through Facebook and with Enewsletter subscribers.

Commission members reached consensus on proposed changes to the joint powers agreement. A committee will be formed to review the financial partners funding formula prior to seeking final approval of the amended agreement.

Stay up to date with the commission and join us at our next meeting on Thursday, January 5 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Jury Assembly Room at the Goodhue County Justice Center located at 454 W. 6th Street in Red Wing, MN.
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