Bonding proposal will address urgent needs at the nation’s busiest international rail crossing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 28, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) Commissioner Charlie Zelle, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and State Representative David Dill today announced their support to include in the state bonding bill several urgent transportation infrastructure projects near the international rail crossing in Ranier, Minnesota. Senator Bakk is introducing those bonding provisions in the Senate.
Specifically, the bill calls for a county road extension and overpass to solve the isolation of 50 area homes that lose their outlet to the city, sometimes for hours, when trains are crossing. Officials have repeatedly cited the danger of this situation in cases of fire or emergency. The measure would also give those in Ranier on the east side or the west side an alternative route when long lines of rail cars are blocking the normal crossings.
Senator Bakk’s measure follows Rep. Nolan’s recent Rail and Essential Air Service Forum in Ranier and International Falls, Minnesota. During that session, local officials cited serious transportation safety and infrastructure problems at the international crossing, which handles 18 per cent of all goods that enter the U.S. by rail – the busiest single rail crossing on any U.S. border.
The boom in the oil and gas industry has led to trains nearly 2 miles long, contributing to long delays that can last up to two hours at city intersections.
“I want to commend Governor Dayton, Senator Bakk, Representative Dill and Commissioner Zelle for responding so quickly and decisively to the urgent concerns we heard in International Falls,” Congressman Nolan said. “The projects proposed in this bill will go a long way toward alleviating serious and persistent delays and safety problems at the Ranier crossing. The shipments and commerce coming across the border at Ranier is important – but so is the safety and quality of life of the people who live in the region. These improvements will benefit everyone, and we hope for speedy inclusion and passage.”
“The high volume of rail traffic coming across this corridor every day is a constant disruption to the lives and businesses of the entire region,” said Governor Dayton, who supports the measure this session. “I am glad to join with Congressman Nolan, Senator Bakk and Representative Dill in pushing this session for needed improvements at the Ranier crossing. And I will continue to press hard this session to ensure the rail companies who are causing these disruptions help pay for their solutions.”
“The International Falls and Ranier rail crossing has been problematic for many years,” added Senator Bakk.“With no other crossing options available to our constituents, the safety of both communities is compromised by the chronically blocked intersections and congestion. I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Nolan, Governor Dayton and Representative Dill to address the problem.”
“CN Rail and the need for the Port of Ranier is important to the community socially and economically,” saidRepresentative Dill. “The projects proposed to be funded by bonding dollars go directly to the safety, health and well being of the City of Ranier and the greater International Falls area, while encouraging the maintaining the important Ranier International Port of Entry from Canada.”