Mayo Clinic win could help attract high-speed rail

rail generic(Photo courtesy Sadi Junior via Flickr)

With the Mayo Clinic poised to grow its footprint in southeastern Minnesota over the next 20 years, there’s renewed discussion on a proposed high-speed passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and Rochester.

ZipRail_183x70.jpgThe proposed rail corridor between Rochester and the Twin Cities, known as Zip Rail, would include Olmsted, Dodge, Goodhue, Rice, Dakota, Ramsey and Hennepin counties.

The first round of meetings is scheduled for early June for the public to learn more about the planning study for the proposed 100-mile high-speed line.

Meetings are scheduled for 5 p.m. at:

– June 3 at the Rochester Community & Technical College Heintz Commons Area, 851 30th Ave SE, Rochester

– June 4 at the Ramada Bloomington Hotel Minneapolis Airport/Mall, Miami Room, 2300 American Blvd. E, Minneapolis

– June 6 at the Urland Lutheran Church, 6940 County 9 Blvd., Cannon Falls

The Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority is working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration to prepare a Tier I Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate all potential passenger rail alternatives between the Twin Cities and Rochester.

The rail line would be a boon for thousands of Mayo employees who commute from the Twin Cities to Rochester every day, as well as for patients who fly into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Currently, Mayo has roughly 32,000 employees in Minnesota, which makes it the largest private employer in the state. About a third of Rochester’s residents work at the clinic. Mayo officials estimate the proposed expansion will add between 40 and 45,000 new jobs to the southeastern Minnesota region in the next two decades.

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