Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus this week secured a meeting between Culbertson leaders and Amtrak to plan the construction of a new stop on the Empire Builder for people traveling to the Bakken region.
Tester and Baucus recently requested Amtrak study the possibility of adding a stop in Culbertson to give area oil workers easier access to the fast-growing region.
"At the intersection of two major highways, Culbertson is a prime location for an Amtrak stop that feeds the Bakken and makes it easier for workers to get to the region," Culbertson Mayor Gordon Oelkers said. "The city supports this stop, and we're going to need continued support from Senators Tester and Baucus, as well as state and local leaders, to get it up and running."
This week's meeting included a visit to the site of the proposed station. The meeting focused on the steps needed to complete the stop.
"Efficient transportation options will connect eastern Montana communities and help more workers get to the Bakken to do the hard work of making America more energy independent and growing Montana's economy," Tester said. "Amtrak does a great job connecting Montanans and this meeting is an important step to providing greater service to Montana. I will continue to work with Amtrak and folks in Culbertson to get this station built."
"We need all hands on deck to support the good-paying jobs available in the Bakken - and that means making sure folks can get to and from the region safely and quickly," said Baucus. "We're hearing from Montanans that Amtrak passenger capacity is a challenge that we need to keep working together to address."
With economic growth continuing in the Bakken region, Tester this summer held a field hearing in Glendive to examine ways to assist medical providers and law enforcement to curb illegal drug abuse in the region.
Tester and Baucus previously teamed up to urge Amtrak to increase passenger capacity on the Empire Builder to help the energy-impacted communities take full advantage of the Bakken's oil and gas boom.