WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published June 15, 2011, 07:08 PM

BNSF and Amtrak to Provide Funds to Keep Service in ND

Here's some good news for people in the Lake Region. Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and Amtrak have agreed to provide funds to help keep Amtrak running through North Dakota.

Here's some good news for people in the Lake Region. Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and Amtrak have agreed to provide funds to help keep Amtrak running through North Dakota.

Officials from BNSF and Amtrak met with North Dakota Delegation as well as Devils Lake Mayor Dick Johnson and Ramsey County Commissioner Joe Belford in Washington Wednesday to discuss the fate of the Empire Builder.

More than $100 million is needed to raise the tracks so they are no longer threatened by the floodwaters of Devils Lake.

BNSF and Amtrak have each agreed to pay a third of the cost, with hopes that the federal government will kick in another $33 million.

"The other third, we're going to look to FEMA or to the Tiger Grant funding stream that comes from the Department of Transportation," Sen. Kent Conrad said.

"We have got to keep that rail line going. The real solution here is to move water off of Devils Lake, that has to happen," Sen. John Hoeven said.

As an immediate, temporary solution BNSF says it will pay $2.5 million to have more rip-wrap placed around the track near Churchs Ferry and avoid a shutdown of the train.

Senator Hoeven also said that getting the other $33 million was going to be a challenge, but he's working on setting up a meeting with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Tags: