North Dakota discusses logistics of passenger rail proposal

passenger rail ND
passenger rail ND(KFYR)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority is working to bring back passenger rail through North Dakota and Montana. Thirteen counties in Montana have signed on to support the push to connect the country along the North Coast Hiawatha route that last served passengers in 1979.

Now, the discussion has come to North Dakota. Big Sky Rail Authority presented the idea to Bismarck and Morton County commissioners Wednesday.

“We’re thinking how you can get to your destination easily and readily and what is the best mode to facilitate that, especially in our region. I am an able-bodied driver and I have to be thankful for that, but I do not like all the windshield time and solely being stuck behind the wheel,” said Dan Bilka of All Aboard Minnesota.

The proposed rail has the potential to run through Fargo, Bismarck, and Mandan, into Montana and down towards Colorado. Big Sky spokespeople say the operation would utilize federal infrastructure funding and that freight services have taken a neutral position on the proposal.

Big Sky officials are now conducting a socioeconomic analysis to examine the impact on North Dakota businesses and determine locations for depots.

No action has been taken by commissioners.

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