5 April 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twins fans from the northwestern part of the metro area are reportedly going to have one fewer option to get to Twins games this season.
The Star Tribune reports that the Northstar trains will not be running for games in 2022.
According to the Strib report, Anoka County is withholding operational costs this year, which is preventing Metro Transit from running them. A statement Metro Transit sent to WCCO corroborates that report: “We would like to be able to provide more Northstar service to Twins games. Unfortunately, Anoka County, the largest county funding partner for Northstar, is withholding their share of Northstar operating funds. As such, we cannot take on additional costs to Northstar service at this time.”
However, Anoka County disputes that claim. The county sent WCCO the following statement in response to the report:
“Northstar is a commuter rail service under the control of Metro Transit –– Anoka County has no decision-making authority over this service and is just one of five funding sources for Northstar (Anoka, Hennepin, and Sherburne counties, rider fares and the State of Minnesota, via the Metropolitan Council).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected ridership on the Northstar Commuter Rail Line, and it’s unlikely to ever meet its original ridership goals. Anoka County has no signed funding agreement with Metro Transit for 2021 or 2022. Anoka County asked Metro Transit for adjusted costs due to pandemic-related ridership decline in the fall of 2020. Just last week, we finally received figures detailing adjusted shares for subsidizing Northstar. We are in the process of reviewing these figures. Even when payment is complete, it will not have direct bearing on the number of trains to and from locations.”
Either way, it appears that Twins fans from Anoka, Maple Grove, Elk River, and other cities in that direction are going to have to figure out a different way to get to Target Field this season.