Today the Northstar Commuter Rail line opens from Target Field  to Big Lake, with an extension to St. Cloud coming soon.  It’s a commuter rail line, meaning that it’s a full-blown train operating on existing tracks, costing $320M for the 40 miles that it will run.  It’s expected to carry about 4,000 people per day in a few years at speeds up to 80 MPH, but experts say that ridership may be much higher.  As the hoopla becomes a staple on the news for the next few days, a lot of us in Saint Paul might be wondering when we get our ride – and the answer is that we could have had something just like this by now.  But we don’t.

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