News release from the state Transportation Department:
Rochester-Twin Cities high-speed rail: release of Final Scoping Decision extended
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A high volume of public comments about a proposed high-speed passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and Rochester is delaying the release of a document that evaluates the potential rail alternatives.
The Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement’s Final Scoping Decision document will be available in November, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which is working in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority. This is an extension of the typical 15-day timeframe.
The Final Scoping Decision will identify the issues, potential impact areas and alternatives, including the No Build alternative, to be studied. The document will also include a record of all comments received during the comment period.
The public comment period was in late July and early August, and was extended until Aug. 22 due to the high volume of public interest.
Upon release, the Final Scoping Decision document will be announced in the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board Monitor and newspapers throughout the project corridor.
The Zip Rail study area includes an approximately 100-mile corridor between Rochester and the Twin Cities. The study area includes Dakota, Dodge, Goodhue, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey and Rice counties and various end points in the Twin Cities and Rochester area. Currently, there is not a continuous existing high speed rail connection between the Twin Cities and Rochester, so many of the potential corridors would create new transportation routes.