Instead of criticizing the Pine County Board for attempting to deliver a high speed train which won’t require an ongoing subsidy, (Pine City Pioneer, 3/28) you should have praised them for their foresight. The fact is that, the faster a train travels, the less chance there is for any ongoing subsidies. Fortunately, a majority of both Pine County Commissioners and NLX Board members continue to insist on delivering the fastest train possible. For the hardworking taxpayers of Pine County, this is a good thing.
The key point in the discussion of NLX ridership and revenue is train speed. The NLX 2007 feasibility study proposal is for a train that would go at speeds of up to 110 mph for a good part of its length with a two hour schedule from Twin Cities to Duluth. Such a train would cover its operating costs eliminating the need for an operating subsidy. In general passenger trains cover their operating costs once they go over 100 mph. This fact is not only agreed by Transportation Economics & Management Systems, Inc. (TEMS) but more importantly by USDOT Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
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