Thanks to a strong show of grass roots support, the Minnesota Statewide Rail Plan has been revised to include a passenger rail designation for the corridor that connects south central Minnesota and the Twin Cities on existing rail line through Albert Lea and Northfield (see map below)!
Two routes are identified for study: both connect south central Minnesota to St Paul Union Depot and Minneapolis Target Field Station on a rail line that runs directly under the bridge that carries the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Inter-campus Busway.
At the southern end of the State, the corridor connects the communities of Albert Lea, Owatonna, Faribault and Northfield (all currently unserved by regional transit options). A subsidiary east-west rail line (shown in dotted green below) affords the potential for connecting at Owatonna to southern Minnesota cities including Mankato, Rochester/Destination Medical Center/Mayo Clinic and Winona (where connections are available to existing Amtrak service to Chicago and Seattle) . . . on existing rail line.
In addition to connections within Minnesota, the rail line (shown in red above)(and on blue on the map below) continues due south of the Minnesota border to cities including Des Moines, Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, FortWorth/Dallas, Austin and San Antonio – – on the existing rail line. Along the way, the inter-state reach of the line (shown below) intersects with with four of Amtrak’s most popular long-distance routes from the American West and South West.
Re-introduction of passenger service on the interstate reach of the line would introduce a time saving “short-cut” into southern Minnesota from the south – – making it possible for millions of rail travelers each your to travel to Minnesota from California, Colorado and the American southwest without having to travel by way of Minot or Milwaukee . . .as currently required.
Now designated (2015) as a Phase One passenger rail corridor in the Minnesota Statewide Rail Plan, the South Central (Albert Lea – Twin Cities) Corridor is eligible for immediate study and potential implementation. The next required step for the project is a required engineering study to determine corridor details such as routes, station stops, rail crossing upgrades, passing tracks and other infrastructure needed to accommodate unimpeded freight and passenger trains on the rail corridor.
Minnesota State Representatives Todd Lippert (Northfield) and Alice Hausman (St Paul) have introduced a bill (HF1393) authorizing the general funds needed by MnDOT to complete the required Corridor study; and a Senate “companion bill” has been requested. Legislative support for (HF1393) is now needed to move this train forward!!!
And in addition to (HF1393) Rep. Alice Hausman (St. Paul) has introduced a bill (HF1639) authorizing the bonding needed to continue implementation of other regional corridors designated in the Minnesota’s Statewide passenger rail network (see first map above).
Here is where you can help! Sometime between now and Friday, April 2, 2021 (and the sooner the better). . . .
I. Email and/or call your hometown State Legislators (find their emails HERE -Who Represents Me)
Emails to Sen.Rich.Draheim@senate.mn (Northfield) 651-296-5558, and to Sen.email@example.com (Faribault) 651-296-0284 are especially helpful! [Representative Todd Lippert (Northfield) is already “on board”] to urge state investment in the return of regional passenger rail to Greater Minnesota through their votes in support of (HF1393) and (HF1639).
- If you reside in Minnesota, add to the subject line of your email: “Constituent Request: Support for HF1393 and HF1693: Regional passenger rail for Northfield [or name of your community if applicable] and Greater Minnesota.”
- Sample message: “Please support (HF1393) and the return of regional passenger rail service connecting South Central Minnesota to the Twin Cities on existing rail line through [the name of your City]; and support State investment in the other regional passenger rail corridors identified in the Minnesota State Rail Plan (HF1639). Let’s build a future transportation system that includes regional passenger rail for Greater Minnesota! ” . . . .thats all you need to say . . .
- . . . .but if you want to say more, click this link 20+ Reasons for Regional Passenger Rail for inspiration.
II. Email and/or call other Mn Legislators! Copy and send the same message to other State Legislators, or bcc: them on your email to your Rep(s). Find a full roster of Senate and House emails HERE: 2021 MN Legislators; and
III. Ask friends and family to call and/or email Minnesota Legislators! Send them this link MnRail.org and ask them to contact Legislators to urge support for (HF1393) and (HF1639)!!! Let’s Re-connect the regions of Greater Minnesota and the largest urban centers of our State and Upper Midwest Region by restoring regional passenger rail service on existing rail lines designated in the Minnesota Statewide Rail Plan! Regional passenger rail makes sense! Let’s invest in what we’ve already got to move Minnesota ahead!
Every email counts and will be counted!
Thank you for your consideration and support !
For more information about MnRail.org, or to offer support or suggestions, please contact Suzienakasian@gmail.com 507-301-6756.