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Why Build Northstar
The Northstar Corridor is an 82-mile transportation corridor that runs along Highway 10 from the St. Cloud and Rice area to downtown Minneapolis. It is one of the fastest growing corridors in Minnesota and the nation. It is projected that by 2025, more than 850,000 people will live in the corridor.
Northstar Commuter Rail was chosen and approved by local, state and federal officials because:
Northstar will save commuters significant travel time.
According to an independent analysis prepared for the Federal Transit Administration, Northstar will save commuters nearly 900,000 hours in travel time every year compared to bus transit, the next best alternative. For example, riders can count on a 34-minute commute between Elk River and downtown Minneapolis compared to nearly 70 minutes by vehicle.
Northstar will quickly and efficiently add needed transportation capacity.
Northstar will be operational in 2009, with the capacity to carry the equivalent of nearly one-and-a-half lanes of highway traffic at peak travel times. It has the capacity to carry approximately 7,200 riders per day. Commuter rail can also adapt to increased commuter demand more quickly than expanding highway capacity.
Northstar is the most cost effective choice for the Northstar Corridor.
Northstar will operate on existing BNSF Railway tracks, so construction costs are significantly less than other options. Highway expansion would be nearly four times as expensive and adding a dedicated busway would cost nearly six times more than commuter rail per passenger trip.
Northstar will provide reliable transportation.
Northstar will offer riders on-time and reliable travel regardless of the weather. For example, riders can count on a 34-minute commute from Elk River to Minneapolis, whether it's sunny or snowy. In contrast, the typical vehicle commute is nearly 70 minutes.