StarTribune.com has this article The long and short (and costs) of commuter rail which catches us up on the status of the Northstar commuter rail.
I am a big fan of moving people by rail. My issue is that while it seems to be a preferred way to go with transportation in the amount of time it takes to finally make a decision the costs, materials and inflation, shoot to the moon.
Here is the plan as it stands today:
•40 miles from Minneapolis to Big Lake with stops at the Hiawatha light rail line in Minneapolis, Fridley (but construction is delayed until an additional $10 million is gained), Coon Rapids, Anoka, Elk River and Big Lake. Four blocks of light rail connecting the commuter rail to the Hiawatha line.
•Cost is $317 million, including construction of the Fridley station.
•Construction is set to begin in 2007.
•The line should be operating in 2009.
The NCDA is awaiting $151 million in federal funding, which could be approved in 2007. Without that money, the project cannot move forward. If it's approved, construction will probably start next year.
I still think the ante should be raised to connect to St. Cloud. It will likely happen anyway so it should be done now instead of later when the expense is greater.