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Commuter rail extension to St. Cloud wanted

ST. PAUL - The Northstar commuter rail from downtown Minneapolis stops in Big Lake because lawmakers did not think the state had enough money to stretch it 27 more miles to St. Cloud.

ST. PAUL - The Northstar commuter rail from downtown Minneapolis stops in Big Lake because lawmakers did not think the state had enough money to stretch it 27 more miles to St. Cloud.

Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, wants to expand the line to his community and Tuesday introduced a bill to do that.

The legislation requires the state to begin talks with BNSF Railway Co. for the extension. It sets the existing St. Cloud Amtrak station as the destination.

At least two St. Cloud round trips would be required each day. Knoblach said more trips could be negotiated.

Trips from Big Lake to Minneapolis and back would be cut back under the bill, but train travel miles would remain the same, so the lawmaker said there should be no additional costs to run the train.

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“We already have the train engines, train cars and a train station," Knoblach said.

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