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MNHSR Fast Facts
The construction cost of High-Speed Rail is estimated at $7.1 million per mile from St. Paul to Milwaukee compared to $12.2 million per mile to add a lane of highway in each direction between St. Paul and Milwaukee.

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January 21, 2015 

Greetings! Minnesota High-Speed Rail's January 2015 E-news update replaces our annual report. Please forward this newsletter to friends who may be interested in high-speed rail news.


The Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission named Janice Rettman, Ramsey County Commissioner, as its chair for 2015. Janice Rettman succeeds former chair William J. Spitzer who did not seek reelection as mayor of St. Charles, Minn. and therefore must resign from the Commission.


"The possibility of expanded passenger rail service will benefit every community along the River Route, and I look forward to playing an expanded role in making it happen," Rettman said. "I would like to thank Mayor Spitzer and former Mayor of Winona Jerry Miller for their service as chairs and as members of the Commission."


Commission Chair Janice Rettman



Last year, Jerry Miller, Minnesota High-Speed Rail advocate, went "On the Road" visiting local business and civic groups in Goodview, Wabasha and Lake City to talk about the benefits the Minnesota High-Speed Rail project could bring to communities along the Mississippi River Route.


In December, Miller's travels took him to the Rotary Club of Rochester. Miller, former mayor of Winona, personalized his talk to the 85-member audience by tying Rochester to the River Route. "I see people wanting to come to the Mayo Clinic from outside the area," Miller said. "It would be beneficial to have efficient transportation [rail or bus] for them to get there."


Where will Jerry Miller's travels take him in 2015? To bring him to your community for an engaging presentation and conversation with your group, please contact [email protected].


Jerry Miller was interviewed by KIMT news reporter Adam Sallet. View the KIMT news story at KIMT Talking Passenger Rails


Amtrak Study: The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is working with Amtrak on a study of the feasibility of adding a second daily Amtrak train between the Twin Cities and Chicago. The draft feasibility report has been completed and will be released after review by the participating freight railroads.


Environmental Impact Statement: MnDOT is also working on a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement for the 340-mile Twin Cities to Milwaukee corridor. Modeling between Milwaukee and Union Depot in Saint Paul has been completed and modeling between Union Depot and Target Field Station in Minneapolis has started. The Commission partners with MnDOT to provide information about the project to corridor residents. The Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission is working with local governments to advocate for up to eight daily round-trip high-speed rail trains between the Twin Cities and Chicago.


Learn more at MnDOT's website:



Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Grade Separation Project

In a move to pave the way for increased passenger rail service, the Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission is supporting a $1 million state funding request to advance a grade separation project in St. Paul. The request is being made by the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority (RCRRA) which seeks collaboration with the State of Minnesota in funding the environmental analysis and engineering of a grade separation project between the Division Street Wye and Westminster Junction in Saint Paul.


"The Minnesota High-Speed Rail (MNHSR) Commission eagerly supports the RCRRA's request for partial state funding of this work," says MNHSR Commission chair, Janice Rettman. "In addition to easing freight rail congestion, the grade separation will greatly benefit Amtrak's Empire Builder passenger line by improving fluidity around Union Depot."


High-Speed Rail Across Minnesota


Minnesota Statewide Rail Plan

MnDOT is updating the five-year Minnesota Statewide Rail Plan. The plan will identify priority rail corridors, programs, and projects that offer effective improvements or expansion for passenger and freight travel in and out of Minnesota. 


MnDOT hosted a series of open houses in various locations throughout the state in October and November to gain public input. The updated Plan will address new trends, continue to promote safety, investigate funding methods, and includes an updated priorities and projects list. The open houses, held in Northfield/Albert Lea, St. Cloud, St. Paul, Red Wing, Mankato, Duluth, Winona, Willmar and Eau Claire, WI, were designed to educate attendees on the Statewide Rail Plan, receive feedback on rail improvement needs, freight and passenger service, and related topics. 


To see the presentation click here


Meanwhile in 2014, passenger rail projects from the Twin Cities to Duluth and from the Twin Cities to Rochester moved forward, and Union Depot began serving passenger rail passengers again. Read more about the Union Depot opening


Rail construction at Union Depot
Union Depot construction




High-Speed Rail Across the US and the World


High-speed rail has proven to be the best form of transportation in country after country going back 50 years to Japan. It's now in operation in more than 20 countries (including the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan). HSR is under construction in more than 10 countries (including China, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France, and Italy); and in development in another 14 countries (including Qatar, Morocco, Russia, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, India, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil).


This year, in the US, high-speed rail projects moved forward in Illinois, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California, among others.




Click here to learn more about high-speed rail across the US.


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