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The Star Tribune reported Sunday that the state officials claimed that the cost of the Mn/DOT project Northern Lights Express from Minneapolis to Duluth has risen to $990 million, more than double last year's $360 million estimate.


"We've come up with what many might call a worst-case scenario," said Mn/DOT project manager Dave Christianson.


The state government is now competing with 40 states for getting up to 80 percent of the cost cover with federal funds.


The NLX project team will conduct public open house meetings in Hinckley, Cambridge, Coon and Superior. The first meeting will be held at Cambridge's Armed Forces Reserve Community Center at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.


The WDIO reported Nov.13 that consultant for NLX claimed $550 million budget for the project, which is much less than the one claimed by Mn/DOT consultant.


Gary Cerkvenik, a consultant for NLX, was interviewed by the WDIO report.

"They [consultants for Mn/DOT] think we need to double track 150 miles, " Cerkvenik said. "We really only need to double track 100 miles."

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