ST. CLOUD -- Republican State Representative Jim Knoblach of St. Cloud continues to push an alternative plan to bring the Northstar Commuter Rail service to St. Cloud.

Knoblach says he'd like to see the state reopen negotiations with Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway to lower the cost of the track lease agreement. He says there are already two tracks serving that corridor which makes it feasible to run the trains up to St. Cloud.

Knoblach also says the commuter trains aren't filled on every one of the six roundtrips from Big Lake to Minneapolis. So, Knoblach says it could be cost neutral to drop one of those Big Lake trips and extend it to St. Cloud.

He says there is enough demand from St. Cloud commuters to make the extension viable...

I do think that there is demand for it and that it can be done very cheaply, perhaps even at no cost by just using the resources we have.  It would stop at the Amtrak Station.  We've already got the Amtrak Station.  It would be using the same railroad engines and cars as they use now, they would just be rerouting them to a different route for some of the day.

Knoblach says his plan has made it through the Transportation Policy Committee and is now going to the Transportation Finance Committee.

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