Regional Railroad Authority

The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) was established in 1980 as a political subdivision and local government unit of Minnesota. It was established as a separate political entity to plan, design and implement light rail transit in Hennepin County. The Board of Commissioners for the authority consists of the seven members of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Peter McLaughlin is currently chair of the HCRRA.

Meetings are generally held immediately after regular County Board meetings on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. Meetings are broadcast live on the Metropolitan Cable Network (Channel 6) on the day of the meeting and re-played on Fridays at 8 p.m.

Questions about agenda items may be directed to the clerk at 612-348-7726 or email the chair of the authority at commissioner.mclaughlin@hennepin.us.

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News and announcements

Northern Lights Express Public Meetings

The Northern Lights Express (NLX) Project is hosting three open houses to allow the public an opportunity to provide comments on the recently released Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment document and talk with project staff. There will be an opportunity to provide comments on the potential impacts to historic properties, public parks and recreation areas, and recreational trails. A court reporter will be in attendance to record your comments for the public record. 

Public meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

SANDSTONE
May 16
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 
Sandstone Senior Center
206 Main St, Sandstone

DULUTH
May 17
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 
Duluth Depot
506 W. Michigan St, Duluth

COON RAPIDS
May 18
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 
Coon Rapids Civic Center
1115 Robinson Dr NW, Coon Rapids

For more information about the NLX project, visit the NLX website, www.mndot.gov/nlx or contact:

Frank Loetterle
NLX MnDOT Project Manager
francis.loetterle@state.mn.us  
 

This project is led by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, with support from Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority and other local and state agency partners.

Meetings

The Regional Railroad Authority holds its regular meetings immediately following each regular County Board meeting (generally scheduled for Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 p.m.). Meetings are broadcast live on the Metropolitan Cable Network (Channel 6) on the day of the meeting and re-played on Fridays at 8 p.m.

Questions about agenda items may be directed to the Chair of the Authority,Commissioner Peter McLaughlin or the clerk at 612-348-7726.

Corridors and trails

The Railroad Authority currently owns 55 miles of corridors, 11 sites suitable for future park-and-ride lots or stations; and 2 railroad depots; for a total of 83 acres.

The corridors (PDF) include:

Although acquired for future transportation needs, recreational trails have been constructed on these corridors as an interim use. In 2008, with the construction of the the Dakota Rail and Northeast Diagonal corridors, all 55 miles of corridors are devoted to interim use.

About the Regional Railroad Authority

Partners

The authority collaborates with many government agencies and a variety of public and nonprofit partners to promote transit development and implement interim uses of rail corridors.

Several HCRRA-owned corridors have found popular interim uses as bicycle and pedestrian trails. However, by statute the HCRRA cannot construct or operate recreational trails, so it partners with the City of Minneapolis and Three Rivers Park District to operate and maintain trails such as the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis and the soon-to-be constructed Dakota Rail Regional Trail which runs through seven municipalities in western Hennepin County.

Background

When established in 1980, the HCRRA's mission was to acquire abandoned railroad corridors in order to preserve them for future transportation use. Today, the HCRRA continues this mission, as well as advocating, planning, and funding rail transportation corridors which will serve the county and the region. The HCRRA is one of several regional railroad authorities in Minnesota.

As a unit of government, the HCRRA has authority to establish levies to fund rail transit projects. HCRRA was a capital investment partner in the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line, contributing $84.2 million toward design and construction (11.8 percent of the total capital investment).

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