The bypass would allow Canadian Pacific Railway train traffic to be re-rerouted south of the city. Backers of a proposed high-speed passenger rail line have said this route could also one day connect Rochester to Chicago and the Twin Cities. But the main purpose for the bypass is freight traffic. Mayo Clinic has long been opposed to seeing increased freight traffic come through the city arguing it would be a safety hazard.
But that proposed rail line would run through a good chunk of Demmer's district in Dodge County. The Republican said he has concerns with the proposal.
"I just don't know that I am convinced yet that this is a high enough need to cut through some of the best farm country in the nation," Demmer said.
The 48-mile rail line would start in Dover and end up near Dodge Center.
He said he is also concerned about the project's $325 million price tag and questions whether that is the best use for that money. Still, he said he is trying to keep an open mind. He has already been fielding phone calls from constituents upset about the possible bypass.
Ultimately, Demmer said it is important supporters of the bypass put together public information meetings where residents can see detailed maps and learn how the proposed route could affect them. Supporters also need to be open to hearing the concerns and suggestions of landowners.
"There needs to be that kind of dialogue," he said.