“Congratulations to the Cities of Hugo and White Bear Lake for the successful passage of the Hugo rail line restoration in our bonding bill. Schwieters and Lift Master, two great local companies will be able to stay in the area now that the future of the rail line is secure. 500 jobs depend on this single five-mile rail connection.
I was surprised to learn that neighboring states have funds to repair ‘orphan lines’ to small towns and hard to reach areas, but Minnesota does not.
There are lines in southern Minnesota where the tracks are in such poor shape that the cars can only go five miles/hr. Others have had to be abandoned completely.
I authored a second bill to begin a statewide competitive grant fund and was happy that it was also passed into law this year. It’s an important start, and I hope to grow it so other towns don’t have to take up the effort that our local leaders did. Rail connection can be the life blood to small towns and communities. Ag, lumber, minerals and products keep our state working and we need
safe, reliable rail connections. It’s a real bright spot this year that I was happy to see signed into law and extremely proud of the work of local community leaders in the effort to do so.”