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.