Image of the NLX passenger train

With Traffic Congestion Worsening, Build the NLX Between Minneapolis and Duluth

Editor’s note: This article appeared originally on December 14, 2022 in the Duluth News-Tribune.

According to projections from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and other federal agencies, the entire length of Interstate 35 between the Twin Cities and the Twin Ports will become “highly congested” with “stop-and-go conditions” possibly by 2035.

Instead of adding two more lanes to Interstate 35, we should build the long-proposed Northern Lights Express (NLX) train that promises to be, per mile, less expensive to taxpayers and able to transport more people per hour than could two more highway lanes.

Assuming no changes in network capacity, increases in truck and passenger vehicle traffic are forecast to expand recurring, peak- period congestion to 40 percent of the NHS in 2035 compared with 11 percent in 2002. This will slow traffic on nearly 20,000 miles of the NHS and create stop-and-go conditions on an additional 45,000 miles.
Peak-Period Congestion on the National Highway System: 2035

Even in the 1960s, highway engineers could build only one highway lane mile for every two needed to keep up with congestion. In the 2020s, I feel, it is much more difficult to build new highway lanes than it was in the 1960s.

To speak up for preventing danger to human life, toxic threats to our air quality and economic damage from road congestion along Interstate 35 and along nearby streets and roads, please contact your Minnesota legislators and ask them to pledge a firm commitment to building the safe, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly Northern Lights Express.

With expected discounts for children, veterans and senior citizens, riding the NLX promises to be a wise use of families’ limited transportation dollars.

About James Buchanan

After earning my University of Minnesota communication major and journalism minor, I am currently looking for a full-time position to use my skills in writing, photography, and page design. I am also seeking an environment that offers inspiring and new opportunities that challenge and strengthen my skill set, as well as opportunities to help my future company advance efficiently and productively. I was the top student in my Communications and Creativity class. I’m the professional artist to turn to for your creativity needs.