MnDOT plans meetings on updating the state’s freight and passenger rail plan

Minnesota transportation officials will hold a series of meetings over the next five weeks to get input on the state’s rail plan, which will be updated in 2015.

The plan, revised by MnDOT every five years, is designed to “establish guidance and priorities for the state transportation decisions — ensuring that efficient, competitive services are available to rail customers and that freight access to local and global markets is enhanced.”

The new rail plan takes on more importance because of the ongoing problems with rail delays, in part because of the increase in trains carrying coal and crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields.

And safety, with so many rail cars carrying oil through communities, has become a major focus for citizens and governments.

Comments can be posted online, and the public is invited to these rail plan meetings scheduled around the region:

  • St. Cloud, Nov. 5, 5 to 7 p.m. St. Cloud City Hall
  • Eau Claire, Wis., Nov. 6, 5 to 7 p.m., Chippewa Valley Technical College
  • Twin Cities, Noon to 2 p.m., State Office Building – Room 5
  • Red Wing, Nov. 12, 5 to 7 p.m., Red Wing City Council Chambers 3
  • Mankato, Nov. 13, 5 to 7 p.m., Mankato Intergovernmental Center
  • Duluth, Nov. 17, 5 to 7 p.m., Duluth Depot
  • Twin Cities, Dec. 5, 9:30 to 11 a.m., Ramada Plaza Minneapolis, 1330 Industrial Blvd NE

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