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Oberstar: Wadena projects will go through

With transportation chairman and longtime congressman Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., losing to Republican Chip Cravaack on Tuesday's 8th District race, some Wadena residents may be wondering about the future of U.S. Highway 10 and the rail spur.

Oberstar is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, a post from which he had considerable pull in approving transportation projects.

Oberstar mentioned the projects during his concession speech Wednesday early afternoon.

"We'll continue to rebuild Wadena after the tornado. And a new rail line, and a new rail link, and a re-alignment of Highway 10. Those funds are approved and in the works, and that will continue," Oberstar said.

Oberstar had visited Wadena on Friday, Aug. 27 and arranged a trip for Mayor Wayne Wolden, economic development director Dean Uselman and Lee Miller of Region 5 Development Commission to attend a meeting in Washington, D.C.

Wolden said that the railroad spur grant was already applied for and in the works.

"That's not a matter of whether Jim Oberstar is re-elected or not," he said.

He said that there were two bills in Washington for U.S. Highway 10: one for $750,000 in right of way acquisition, and another close to $10 million for construction.

Wadena is the only section of U.S. Highway 10 which is still a single lane in each direction.