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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Minnesota is known for these numbers — 10,000 lakes and two-person crews. In a victory for railroad safety, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a two-person crew bill into law on May 24. The requirement was included in HF 2887, the Transportation Omnibus Bill, which earlier had passed in the legislature with bipartisan support. The legislation was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Jeff Brand and Sen. Jen McEwen.

“This is a culmination of 10 years of hard work by the BLET Minnesota State Legislative Board,” said Joel Mueller, Chairman of the BLET’s Minnesota State Legislative Board.

“Both Rep. Brand and Sen. McEwen have been strong supporters of this important rail safety legislation and fought to ensure it was included in the final omnibus bill and helped to get it over the finish line,” Brother Mueller added.

The just-signed transportation bill addresses other rail safety issues supported by the BLET Minnesota State Legislative Board, including: the addition of two new state rail safety inspectors; and state funding for the Northern Lights Express, which will expand passenger service between Minneapolis and Duluth.

“This proposed service expansion will provide more job opportunities for our Brothers and Sisters that work for Amtrak,” Brother Mueller said. “Also under this legislation, the state will provide additional funding for extending the North Star commuter service to St. Cloud.”

BLET Vice President & National Legislative Representative Vince Verna said: “I want to congratulate Brother Mueller for his hard work and to thank Governor Walz for signing the bill. He has long supported BLET issues since his time as a member of Congress.”

The final Transportation Omnibus bill passed the Minnesota House chamber by a 69-61 vote and passed out of the Senate by a 34-32 vote.