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MnDot suspends more studies for high-speed rail in SE Minnesota

ST. PAUL -- Plans for a public high-speed passenger line in southeastern Minnesota are coming to a halt, clearing the way for a potential project by the private sector.Minnesota Department of Transportation announced late this week it will suspen...

ST. PAUL - Plans for a public high-speed passenger line in southeastern Minnesota are coming to a halt, clearing the way for a potential project by the private sector.
Minnesota Department of Transportation announced late this week it will suspend work on the proposed Zip Rail line from the Twin Cities to Rochester.
Meanwhile it has issued permits to Minnesota-based North American High Speed Rail Group to explore a privately funded line.
The final of three permits for a non-invasive study by the private group was approved Tuesday, said Wendy Meadley, NAHSR chief strategy officer.
The leading concept would roughly follow the Highway 52 corridor and be “elevated as needed” over roadways and other crossings, Meadley said.
No start date has been determined, but Meadley said the six-month study period will include economic, environmental and engineering components. During that time company representatives will visit communities to talk with residents and businesses.
“Not asking if people want us to do something or not,” Meadley said. “Our new conversation will be: Here’s some of what we’re thinking, what do you think? And if there are people who might want to connect or get involved.”
Suspending the Zip Rail project is pending action by Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority next week. MnDOT initiated the project with the county.

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