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Reader's View: State would be smart to invest in NLX train

It is estimated that 700,000 passengers would commute per year on the NLX, MnDOT said.

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In my opinion, the Minnesota Legislature should fund the Northern Lights Express, a high-speed rail connecting Duluth-Superior with the Twin Cities.

The cost to ride is projected to be cheap, at just $35 one way for a Minnesota resident, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. A rider on the NLX can save money if their only trip is to the Twin Cities and back.

Veterans would be able to ride from Duluth to the VA hospital. This would be essential, as many veterans are disabled and unable to drive to and from the VA in the Twin Cities.

As the News Tribune reported in March, 80% of the $435 million project would be covered by the federal government ($340 million). Only $85 million would have to be covered by the state following action by the Minnesota Legislature. In other words, it would cost only $85 million for the state of Minnesota to fund a project promising a long-term financial windfall.

Don’t believe me? It is estimated that 700,000 passengers would commute per year on the NLX, MnDOT said. The state would generate $26.25 million in revenue. In just three years and three months, the rail service would be paid off on the state’s side, meaning that any additional revenue would be profit for the state. As a revenue yield, it would be 30.88%, easily eclipsing a current 30-year government bond of 3.20%. For a state falling behind on infrastructure, it’s essential the state fund this environmentally sound and cost-efficient rail line.

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The Northern Lights Express can make the state additional money. Advertising outside of trains could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Setting the railway near a casino could lead to a local tribe raising cash.

The possibilities of long-term profits are endless.

Ali J. Rothschild

Otsego, Minnesota

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