Oberstar wants Chicago high-speed rail routed through Rochesterby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — There's disagreement in southern Minnesota over the best route for high speed rail connecting the Twin Cities and Chicago. Some want the trains to run along the Mississippi, others want the line to run through Rochester.
Democratic Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar spoke in favor of the Rochester plan at a business luncheon in Minneapolis Friday. He said the lack of consensus in Minnesota means Wisconsin may wind up with the final say, if it chooses to run the line through Eau Claire, and bypass Rochester.
"Wisconsin now has to decide whether to use the existing line through LaCrosse to the Minnesota border, or new line through Eau Claire, which is a straighter shot into Minnesota," he said. "But if Minnesota had already laid out a plan for passenger rail service from Rochester to Wisconsin to the Twin Cities, that would greatly influence Wisconsin's ultimate plans."
The powerful House transportation committee chair said French rail service SNCF is proposing to help develop modern passenger rail service in the U.S.
Minnesota's state high-speed rail plan says a different line along the Mississippi would be more economical and easier to build. But Oberstar says Rochester needs the service.
Oberstar also said he'd like to see a high speed rail link between the Twin Cities and Chicago international airports.