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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Minnesota DOT shelves proposed Twin Cities-Rochester 'Zip Rail' line

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) this week announced it suspended work on the proposed "Zip Rail" high-speed line between the Twin Cities and Rochester, pending action from the Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority.

The authority is scheduled to vote on a resolution to suspend the project on Feb. 2, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Rendering of a Zip Rail train
Source: Zip Rail
The news follows the recent completion of the Zip Rail Alternatives Analysis report, which identified eight possible alternatives. However, "considerable additional public resources" would be necessary for MnDOT to study these alternatives, the department said in a press release.

A private company known as the North American High Speed Rail Group (NAHSR) has expressed interest in building the high-speed line using private funds. MnDOT officials said on Wednesday that it has issued permits to the company to begin a feasibility study "in the near future" for a high-speed rail line in southeastern Minnesota.

NAHSR will further define the proposed project's potential benefits to the region and state as it conducts its own study, MnDOT officials said.

Zip Rail was initiated as a partnership between MnDOT and Olmsted County to explore the feasibility of a high-speed rail connection that would serve anticipated travel demand between the state's two largest economies. The project was anticipated to create more than 11,000 new jobs and add more than $1.6 billion per year in increased economic output, MnDOT officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/29/2016