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Northstar at a Glance
View key Northstar facts and figures

Why Build Northstar
Discover the benefits Northstar Commuter Rail offers to the Northstar Corridor

History of Northstar
Review Northstar’s major accomplishments

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The Northstar Commuter Rail Project is the culmination of more than a decade of work. The following are highlights of these major accomplishments. 

On the right track.
Date Description
Late 2009 Northstar Commuter Rail opens for service!
Spring 2008 Passenger vehicles ordered.
April-May 2008 Construction begins on stations in Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka and Coon Rapids-Riverdale, while work continues on the Downtown Minneapolis Ballpark Station.
January 2007 $32 million in bonds are sold so payments can be made to BNSF Railway for easements that will allow for the use of its train tracks.
December 2007 Federal, state and local officials sign the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for Northstar Commuter Rail. The FFGA committed $156.8 million in federal matching funds and released $97.5 million in state bonding money for Northstar construction and trains.
September 2007 Construction begins to extend the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit Line to the Downtown Minneapolis Ballpark Station. Work also begins on the vehicle maintenance facility in Big Lake.
April 2007 Stearns County joins the NCDA. The NCDA agrees to study a second phase of Northstar, possibly extending commuter rail service in the future from Big Lake to Becker, St. Cloud and Rice. Four locomotives are ordered with expected ship dates of Fall 2008.
March 2007 The State of Minnesota, NCDA and BNSF complete negotiations and sign key agreements finalizing terms and conditions for commuter rail service, including a cooperation agreement that puts the Metropolitan Council in charge of overseeing Northstar operation.
February 2007 President Bush recommends federal funding for construction of Northstar as part of his fiscal year 2008 budget.
May 2006 The NCDA, State of Minnesota and BNSF Railway reach an agreement in principle that guarantees Northstar’s operation on BNSF train tracks for the entire life of Northstar.
September 2006 The FTA grants Northstar permission to enter the final design phase.
June 2006 Governor Pawlenty signs the bonding bill approved by state legislators during the 2006 session. The bill authorizes $60 million for Northstar, completing the state’s capital commitment needed to seek final federal funding for Northstar’s construction.
July 2005 U.S. Congress authorizes $80 million for Northstar in federal transportation bill.
April 2005 Minnesota Legislature approves $37.5 million for Northstar in final bonding bill.
August 2004 Governor Pawlenty announces a $2.5 million funding plan to secure $10 million in federal money. Legislative leaders publicly support Northstar in letter to FTA.
January 2004 Governor Pawlenty includes $37.5 million in funding for Northstar in his bonding proposal.
December 2003 Northstar meets new, more rigorous FTA cost effectiveness criteria for a Phase One route from Big Lake to Minneapolis.
June 2000 The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) authorizes NCDA to begin preliminary engineering and awards Northstar a “Recommended” rating.
May 1997 30 counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities form the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA.)

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