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The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority, yesterday released the Final Scoping Decision on the so-called "Zip Rail" plan for high-speed rail service between the Twin Cities and Rochester, Minn.The scoping document describes the purpose of, and need for, a high-speed rail corridor and the proposed action; the development and evaluation of corridor alternatives; the potential social, economic and environmental impacts; and discussion of the methodology used to address each issue in the upcoming Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, MnDOT officials said in a press release.The document also responds to comments received during the public comment period held last year in July and August.The Zip Rail study area covers a 100-mile corridor between Rochester and the Twin Cities, which includes Dakota, Dodge, Goodhue, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey and Rice counties, and various end points in the Twin Cities and Rochester. There is no continuous railroad connection between the Twin Cities and Rochester, so many of the potential corridors would create new transportation routes, department officials said.
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