The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released the Final Scoping Decision document on the Zip Rail proposal for a high speed passenger rail line between Rochester and the Twin Cities.  

The plan includes two routes south of Coates that would connect to downtown Rochester. One is centered on the Highway 52 right-of-way and the other would use the Highway 56 route. Four proposed routes north of Coates would connect the south lines to the Twin Cities airport and/or the Union Depot in St. Paul.

Staff will now begin working on the Environmental Impact Statement involving the routes, which should be completed by fall of this year. It may include a recommendation for the preferred route of the project.  At the same time, a financial study of the project will be worked on and should be finished by this fall. It will include both estimated construction and operational costs. Talks will also continue this year on a possible public/partnership involving the project.

Project Manager Charles Michael says once the EIS has been presented and discussed, a decision on whether to proceed with the project will likely be made.

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