For Twin Cities residents who attend St. Cloud State University, getting home to their permanent residence can be a tough task – especially for those who don’t have a car. Many have their parents or other relatives make unnecessary trips back and forth, and some have to beg peers and offer high sums of money.
The current method to get back to the Twin Cities is to catch a bus in St. Cloud at the transit center downtown, take that bus to Big Lake, wait for the train to show up, and have the train take you to Minneapolis, stopping at Target Field. Since there’s only one time on Friday and Saturday morning this option is available, students often have obligations during these times and it’s difficult to make something work out with public transportation. Many over the years have clamored for an extension of the Northstar line to St. Cloud – one of the biggest cities in Minnesota.
“My dad works in the cities, so with not having a car, it really would have been a lot easier to get back home with the Northstar line, if it were extended here,” said SCSU student Lucas Sedgeman. “Even if I’m just making a trip down for the night, this will help tremendously.”
In an interview with KNSI, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith echoed a similar sentiment:
“I really hope that the legislators will see that there is a real benefit here,” she said. “This a way of jump starting that really important transit connection between central Minnesota and the Twin Cities. The decision to end Northstar 28 miles short of the largest population center in Central Minnesota has hamstrung the line for nearly a decade.”
Governor Mark Dayton proposed a budget of $3 million dollars for a six-month test of the line, running once a day from St. Cloud to Minnesota, and vice-versa. Dayton also proposed $850,000 dollars to go toward a study determining the costs of the potential expansion.
“I would for sure try that demonstration,” said Nick Brown, another car-less student here at SCSU. “Why not? It’s exciting. It would be great if it was here.”
State Representative Jeff Howe also commended the exploration into extending the service to the Granite City in an interview with WJON:
“I think the thing that would really make the Northstar valuable, is to increase the amount the train runs,” Howe said. “Right now, if you want to go down and say, catch a show at the Ordway? This isn’t going to work for you.”
This proposed extension of the Northstar line is thought by the legislature to increase tourism from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities and vice versa, while also making travel to the cities far more accessible from a St. Cloud point of view. This proposed line would surely help the accessibility of the students here at SCSU, and students are already looking forward to the possibility.