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Rochester to Twin Cities high-speed rail would boost economy, study says

A study says a high-speed rail line connecting Rochester and the Twin Cities could result in nearly $1 billion a year in new economic activity.

A study says that a high-speed rail line connecting Rochester and the Twin Cities could result in nearly $1 billion a year in new economic activity.

The study was commissioned by the Rochester Area Economic Development group.

The proposed rail project would be a nonstop route between downtown Rochester and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The study assumes that the trains, traveling between 150 and 220 mph, would attract an estimated 1 million riders per year, said the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

This wasn’t a feasibility study, officials said, but “a statistical analysis of the likely economic benefits, calculated using certain established formulas and assumptions.”

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Some highlights of  the study:

  • Statewide, economic activity would increase by $987 million per year, and by $84 million in Olmsted County alone.
  • Increased employment, over 25 years, would total nearly 7,900 jobs, including 3,250 involved in the planning, design and construction. More than $7.6 billion in individual income is attributed to the job increase — again, over the 25-year time span analyzed.
  • The value of time-savings from the high-speed link would approach $30 million in the first year of operation, and vehicle gas consumption would be reduced by 2.5 million gallons. An estimated 40 road crashes would be prevented.