There’s been discussion about whether that proposed high-speed train from St. Paul to Chicago would swing though Rochester or Winona. Well, how about both? That’s a pitch coming from one state lawmaker, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.
Rep. Andy Welti, DFL-Plainview, says maybe the train would not have to stop every time at both cities — rather it could vary stopping either in Rochester or Winona.
“Where the rail goes there is the potential for a couple of communities along the line to be served. It’s not a situation where you will have true winners and losers,” Welti said.
Supporters of the Mississippi River route have argued it makes more sense to get high-speed rail where there are existing railroad tracks. Amtrak’s Empire Builder line already runs along the river and could be upgraded, allowing the project to move along more quickly at less cost.
“I believe the most economical route is coming down the Mississippi River on the current rails, rather than building all new infrastructure,” said Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona.
Meanwhile, supporters of Rochester high-speed rail argue it only makes sense to include the Minnesota’s third-largest city when considering the state’s long-term transportation needs.
There’s some urgency because there are $8 billion in federal stimulus dollars available for rail.