Dayton has hopes for high-speed rail in Minn.by Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton says Florida's rejection of federal stimulus money to build high speed rail may benefit Minnesota.
Dayton met with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Thursday and told the secretary Minnesota would apply for rail funds.
Dayton said LaHood talked specifically about a link from the Twin Cities to the home of the Mayo Clinic. The governor spoke on a conference call with reporters after the meeting.
"He's very encouraged to hear that we want to make that a priority and that we talked specifically about Rochester to the Twin Cities, as either a project in its own right, or as part of still a possible route from Chicago to the Twin Cities," Dayton said.
A link to Chicago was scratched after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he wasn't interested in running the line through that state.
Dayton said federal officials are still willing to consider a link from Rochester to the Twin Cities, one potential leg of the original plan.
"They were very impressed with the plan that the commissioner and MnDOT had prepared on high speed rail, and to which the Twin Cities to Rochester route is actually the most prominent one," he said. "The first one that is mentioned in the information we provided to the secretary today and so its very much now on their radar screen."
Dayton also mentioned a potential route through Iowa as an alternative.