Welcome to a better way to travel!
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 Northfield (see map below)!
Two routes are identified for study: both connect south central Minnesota to Minneapolis and St Paul Union Depot; and both include a section of track that runs directly under the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Inter-campus Busway.
In the south of the state, the corridor connects Albert Lea, Owatonna, Faribault and Northfield -communities that are currently unserved by regional public transit options. At Owatonna, a subsidiary east-west rail line (shown in dotted green below) affords an opportunity to connect to additional southern tier cities including Mankato, Rochester/Destination Medical Center Mayo Clinic and Winona (where further rail connections are possible via Amtrak service to Chicago) . . . using existing rail line.
In addition to connecting cities within Minnesota, the rail line (shown in blue on the map below) continues due south of the Minnesota border to offer potential connections 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 rail line intersects with popular Amtrak routes from the American West and Southwest. The potential reintroduction of passenger service on the inter-state reach of the south central Minnesota corridor would open a time saving “short-cut” into Minnesota from the south, for the millions of rail passengers who travel aboard the national rail network each year from States including California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado, and would vastly enhance Minnesota’s strategic position within the National Amtrak Network.
With its recent (2015) designated as a Phase One passenger rail corridor in the Minnesota Statewide Rail Plan, the south central (Albert Lea – Twin Cities) passenger rail corridor is immediately eligible for study and potential implementation.
A bill is now introduced in the Minnesota Legislature (HF1493 /SF1899) that authorizes funding needed by MnDOT for regional passenger rail corridors identified in the State Rail Plan – including $500,000 in general funds for the Albert Lea-Twin Cities Passenger Rail Corridor Study as well as $15 million in bonding funds for three other passenger corridors: the Minneapolis-Duluth Northern Lights Express (NLX), a second train from Twin Cities to Milwaukee and Chicago (TCMC) the extension of NorthStar CommuterRail Service to St Cloud.
The Proposed Corridor Study of the Albert Lea-Twin Cities line is a required first step needed to determine corridor details such as routes, station stops, and the upgrades to rail crossings and infrastructure needed to accommodate passenger service on these existing freight rail lines.
Legislative support of HF1493/SF1866 is needed to move the project forward!
Here is where you can help!
Please take 5 minutes to email Minnesota Legislators to urge their support for HF1493/SF1866 and the general funds requested for the Albert Lea-Northfield Passenger Rail Corridor Study!!!!
Every email to the Legislature counts and will be counted! Please take a minute to add your voice in support of passenger rail service for Northfield and South Central Minnesota!
I. If you are from Minnesota, email your hometown/representatives First! [Find your House Rep and Senator HERE -Who Represents Me?).
Find a full Legislative roster and contact information by clicking HERE: 2020 MN Legislators.
In the Subject line of your email (or when you call) be sure to let them know that you are a constituent of their District: “Constituent Request.” Urge your representatives to:
1.Support HF1493 /SF 1866 to authorize the $500,000 in general funds needed for MnDOT to study the South Central Minnesota-Twin Cities Passenger Rail Corridor which connects southern Minnesota to St Paul, Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Intercampus busway using existing rail line through Northfield, and
2. Re-Connect Greater Minnesota! Invest in a future transportation system for Minnesota that connects Greater Minnesota with the largest urban centers of our State and Upper Midwest Region using regional passenger rail service on existing rail corridors designated in the Minnesota Statewide Passenger Rail Plan; and
3. Let elected leaders know why you support the revival of regional passenger rail service for Minnesota! Make Your Case! Be as specific as possible: why is regional passenger rail a NEED rather than a “want.” Click HERE to find a starter list of a dozen+ reasons for passenger rail for MN and last but not least,
Be sure to say Thank you! Thank you for your consideration and for your support of regional passenger rail for our State!
II. Copy and send the same message to other State Legislators ! Find a full list and contact information HERE: 2020 MN Legislators; and
III. Spread word of this advocacy campaign to friends and family members! Send the, the link to this website MnRail.org, and encourage them to join you in contacting Legislators to voice support for the HF1493/SF1866 and the funds needed to get started in returning regional passenger rail service to South Central Minnesota!
Every message to elected leaders counts, and will be counted!
Thank you for your consideration and support !
Let’s bring regional passenger rail service back to Greater Minnesota!
For more information about MnRail.org, or to offer support or suggestions, please contact Suzienakasian@mnrail.org. 507-301-6756.