Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Minnesota races toward high speed rail

Logan will have something to say about this one. I can’t wait.

Minnesota officials say the inauguration of high speed rail service would mean the creation of 1800 new jobs. Mike Beebe, the governor of Arkansas, should be paying attention to this. Lord knows, down here we would give away millions in tax breaks to industries (Mississippi’s auto makers come to mind immediately and some wind mill blade producers in Arkansas also) who decide to back off on their original commitments.

1800 permanent jobs is a super-project. Arkansas would give away the ranch for that kind of investment. Now, I am not saying that an investment in faster trains would have that kind of impact here. We do not have the population base, but rail expansion is an investment. Tell that to your teabagging friends.

Anyway. the Stat-Tribune has a comprehensive story.

“We’re doing this for the economic health of the region,” said state Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul.

Absent from Monday’s gathering of the new On Board Midwest coalition was any mention of Rochester’s efforts to steer the high-speed line through that city. Elected officials there have their own coalition, the Southeast Minnesota Rail Alliance, to lobby for a direct connection to the Twin Cities. They argue that the Mayo Clinic’s drawing power makes Rochester a required destination.

Update: Thanks to Pat for posting this. When college schoolwork heats up, I tend to retreat inside my turtle shell until I’ve brought it down to a halfway manageable load. As the article mentions, the primary problem with this piece of news is that Rochester is still favoring its own separate alignment. This could only hinder the process, allowing other states to get the competitive advantage for rail funding because of internal squabbling. This is not something Governor Pawlenty seems to understand. Rochester would do much better to press for commuter rail to the Twin Cities that conveniently links up with any future high-speed line. That would be a great compromise that could step up this project’s importance to the Midwest HSR initiative.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

2 Responses

  1. bpalmen says:

    The Rochester route is actually economically superior, and honestly, federal funding will not even come close to funding this whole project. It’s very important that the money be spent wisely, and not just spent quickly.

    It’s not about being ‘with the alliance or not’, it’s about doing the right thing for the whole state. Millions of people travel TO Rochester every year for health care at the Mayo Clinic and other new economy industries. The more expedient but less worthwhile route visits small river towns like Winona that are, honestly, NOT destinations.

    It makes far better economic sense to route the train through the state’s largest cities, including Rochester, than to cater to the political faction that favors a route through Winona.

  2. Nathanael Nerode says:

    *If* the complete Rochester ROW can be recovered, it is a damn good route — it also runs through Northfield, MN (2 colleges) and then through Lakeville before arriving at the Twin Cities. Incidentally, it runs through Winona as well.

    But it’s much longer than the CP route. It is probably not really suitable for high-speed Chicago-Minneapolis service, which should take the shortest and fastest route. Instead, intercity service should run St. Paul-Northfield-Rochester-Winona-La Crosse and connect with High Speed Rail.

    Unfortunately, opposition from the southern suburbs of Minneapolis has prevented the logical commuter line to Northfield — identified as one of the best possible lines when studied a few years ago — from being built, so GOOD LUCK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Top Clicks

  • None
April 2009


%d bloggers like this: