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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Zip Rail Public Comment Period Extended to Aug. 22

In response to public interest, the Minnesota Department of Transportation extended the comment period to Aug. 22 on a plan for passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and Rochester. MnDOT is preparing a Tier I Environmental Impact Statement in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority to evaluate passenger rail alternatives for the Rochester-Twin Cities Rail Corridor Investment Plan, also known as the Zip Rail. .  The impact statement is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
As part of the Tier I EIS, an Environmental Scoping Booklet and Draft Scoping Decision Document were prepared and are available for public review and comment. The Scoping Booklet describes the purpose and need for development of high-speed passenger rail service between Rochester and the Twin Cities and also provides information on alternatives that will be carried into the Tier 1 EIS. 
The Zip Rail study area includes an approximately 100-mile corridor between Rochester and the Twin Cities. The area includes Dakota, Dodge, Goodhue, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey and Rice counties and various end points in the Twin Cities and Rochester area. Currently, there is not a continuous existing railroad connection between the Twin Cities and Rochester, so many of the potential corridors would create new transportation routes. 
The Scoping Booklet and Draft Scoping Decision Document are available for public review on the project website at, or by hard copy at local government offices and libraries throughout the corridor. A list of locations to view a hard copy is listed on the project website.
Comments on the Scoping Booklet and Draft Scoping Decision Document will be accepted through Aug. 22, 2014, and may be submitted on the project website, via email, voicemail, or U.S. mail:
Voicemail: 651-366-3195 
U.S. Mail:
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Passenger Rail Office
ATTN: Zip Rail
395 John Ireland Boulevard, MS 470
St. Paul, MN 55155
For more information, visit the project website at
To request a document in an alternative format, call 651-366-4718 or email your request to

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