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Duluth City Council approves more money for Northern Lights Express

A divided Duluth City Council decided to provide additional fuel for the Northern Lights Express initiative in hopes of one day bringing high-speed passenger rail service from the Twin Cities to the Twin Ports.

A divided Duluth City Council decided to provide additional fuel for the Northern Lights Express initiative in hopes of one day bringing high-speed passenger rail service from the Twin Cities to the Twin Ports.

By a 6-3 vote Monday, the council approved $38,000 in funding for the project.

Backers of the train effort included Jeff Anderson, Tony Cuneo, Patrick Boyle, Sharla Gardner, Jackie Halberg and Dan Hartman.

Voting against the funding were councilors Todd Fedora, Jay Fosle and Jim Stauber.

"I do not feel this is a prudent use of tourism tax dollars," Fedora said, questioning whether such a line ever could be viable.

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While the city has provided earlier support for the project, Fedora said: "There's such a thing as throwing good money after bad."

Still, Anderson remained strongly in support of continued train funding, calling it "an investment in the future," especially in light of continued fuel cost increases. He said the project is still "very much alive," despite political shifts that occurred in the latest election.

"This really is a miniscule investment of tourism tax dollars, considering the impact a train could have on our future tourism revenues," Cuneo said before voting in favor of the $38,000 allocation.

Related Topics: TRANSPORTATION
Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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