January 10, 2020 (Red Wing, Minn.) – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced this week that $10 million in funding for the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) Second Train is included in his 2020 bonding proposal.
“This is a good first step,” said Mark Vaughan, chair of the Great River Rail Commission. “We have a lot of work ahead of us during the upcoming legislative session to make the second train a reality. We will continue to work with our house and senate members to include this project in their respective bonding proposals.” The commission advocates for the development of the second train project, a daily round trip passenger train between the Twin Cities and Chicago. Service would complement the Amtrak Empire Builder service and run on existing tracks.
“We are grateful the Governor is recommending this investment,” said Vaughan. “We believe the train will create jobs, generate economic growth and provide Minnesotans with a safe, reliable transportation alternative to access tourism, businesses and colleges.”
The first phase of planning for the second train was completed last summer. The second phase (begun fall 2019) will generate a service development plan, a benefit-cost analysis and an environmental analysis. Funding from both the Minnesota and Wisconsin legislatures is being sought to complete planning and to match funds being sought from the federal government for infrastructure improvements.
Walz Bonding Proposal
The bonding proposal from Governor Walz is called the Building One Minnesota Local Jobs and Projects Plan. The proposal includes four areas of focus; the TCMC Second Train is called out in the area called Quality of Life. Details of the plan are at https://mn.gov/governor/buildonemn/.
About the Commission
The Great River Rail Commission is one of the leading voices on passenger rail in Minnesota. Comprised of officials from 18 local and regional governments from St. Paul to La Crosse, the Commission advocates for the development of the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) Second Train project, a daily round trip passenger train between the Twin Cities and Chicago. The Commission’s long range vision is that the second train demonstrates demand for additional passenger rail service that leads to further investment in faster, more frequent passenger train service.
Great River Rail Commission