With no federal funding in sight, state may suspend planning for Zip Rail train to Rochester

The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports that there may be a pause in planning for a controversial high-speed train between the Twin Cities and Rochester.

Supporters say the publicly funded Zip Rail line would be a tremendous benefit for the state, but many oppose the plan. Plenty of “Stop the Zip Rail” signs can be seen along Hwy. 52 on the way to Rochester.

An environmental review of the route is under way, but there’s no federal funding on the horizon, the paper said. So MnDOT Chief of Staff Eric Davis said: “We recognize that without a reliable source of funding for the planning and construction of a high-speed rail line, the project really just is in kind of limbo.” 

While no official decision has been made, Davis said it might make sense to hold off for now: “There is some concern about the timing of undertaking the next phase of work because arguably that would be a waste. We would rather have identified a funding source before we would do that work,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state is talking with the North American High Speed Rail Group, which proposes to build an 84-mile, elevated high-speed rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities without public money.

The paper says the “$4.2 billion project would be funded through a combination of Chinese and U.S. investors. As part of the project, the rail group would also develop real estate that ties into the rail line.”

State officials are considering the request.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply