Ramsey County revives St. Paul-to-Chicago rail study

February 10, 2016

By Frederick Melo, Pioneer Press

Ramsey County took a step Tuesday toward helping to provide a second daily round-trip rail service from St. Paul’s Union Depot to Chicago — a move that ultimately would require Minnesota, Wisconsin or other partners to throw in $6.6 million in annual operating subsidies.Website Insert Real Numbers copy

More than 100,000 passengers per year already board Amtrak’s Empire Builder passenger rail service between Chicago and St. Pau, and a second daily round trip could draw an additional 155,000 passengers annually.

Those numbers come from a 28-page feasibility study produced by Amtrak nine months ago. Since then, prospects for two daily passenger train trips between the Twin Cities and the Windy City have mostly languished on a shelf.

On Tuesday, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners voted to put up to $300,000 toward reviving the hamstrung planning efforts.

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