Possible routes for a proposed high-speed rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities are expected to be unveiled tonight at a public meeting.
The meeting at the Heintz Center runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a formal presentation at 5:30 p.m. This is part of a $2 million study to determine the best route for Zip Rail. The goal is to select a route by the end of the year and then move ahead with an Environmental Impact Statement on that route. Possible routes that have been discussed include alongside U.S. 52, Minnesota Highway 56 and the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad corridor along U.S. 14, which is now owned by Canadian Pacific Railroad.
The discussion comes after the Legislature passed Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center expansion proposal as part of the tax bill. That legislation requires that the clinic's expansion be considered when calculating the demand for high-speed rail service. It also requires that the study analyze the feasibility of a stop at the Mall of America with connections to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and the Union Depot in St. Paul.
Two other meetings are also planned this week. Both of these meetings also run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with formal presentations at 5:30 p.m. The next one is tomorrow at the Ramada Bloomington Hotel Minneapolis Airport/Mall in the Miami Room, 2300 American Blvd. E. in Minneapolis. The last one is Thursday at Urland Lutheran Church, 6940 County 9 Blvd. in Cannon Falls.