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Public input wanted for Minnesota’s first statewide rail plan

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 6:03 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Members of the traveling public, transportation stakeholders, rail providers and local government officials are invited to provide input for development of the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s 2009 Comprehensive Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan at the second and final round of public open houses scheduled at seven locations statewide.

“We appreciate the feedback on the rail plan that we have received to date, and encourage additional members of the public to attend one of these open houses to give us their ideas about rail issues that affect their lives and businesses,” said Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel.

The plan, mandated by the 2008 Minnesota Legislature, will provide guidance for statewide rail initiatives and investments and will make Minnesota eligible for federal funding. Public input received from these open houses, a series of stakeholders meetings and ongoing commentary will help Mn/DOT develop a draft of the plan that identifies:

●  An overall vision for effective use of the state’s rail network and its future development.
●  Public and private sector roles for use of rail in the state’s transportation system.
●  Priority intercity and high-speed passenger rail corridors for travel within and beyond  Minnesota.
●  Ways to enhance national and international freight access to markets, services and logistics.
●  Measures and guidelines for public investments in rail assets and services.
●  Requirements for Minnesota’s participation in national rail initiatives, programs and resources.

There will be a brief presentation on the Minnesota Comprehensive Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan planning process at each open house. After the presentation, Mn/DOT officials and national rail consultants will be on hand to discuss current and future rail programs, answer questions and take input.

2009 Minnesota Comprehensive Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan
OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE

5-7 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 6
ST. CLOUD
Mn/DOT Office and Training Center
3725 – 12th St. N.
St. Cloud

5-7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
ROCHESTER
Rochester Community/Technical College
Heintz Center
1926 Collegeview Drive SE
Rochester

5-7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 8
RED WING
Red Wing Main Library
Foot Room
225 East Ave.
Red Wing

5-7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 14
TWIN CITIES METRO
St. Paul Union Depot
214 East 4th Street
St. Paul

5-7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 15
DULUTH
Duluth Union Depot and Transportation Museum – Great Hall
506 W. Michigan St.
Duluth

5-7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 21
MOORHEAD
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Room C-118
1900 28th Ave. S.
Moorhead

5-7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 22
MANKATO
Best Western N. Mankato
1111 Range St.
Mankato

For more information about open houses, call Mn/DOT’s Office of Passenger Rail at 651-366-3199.

Public input received will be presented to advisory and steering committees and key community, industry and government officials in November 2009. The Minnesota Comprehensive Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan will be completed by Dec. 31, 2009, and then presented to the Minnesota Legislature. The completed plan will be included in the Minnesota Statewide Transportation Policy Plan and will enter into required state and federal reviews in January 2010. For information, go to www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/railplan/.

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