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Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Chicago passenger rail project seeking your comments

TCMC passenger rail map
Photo from Wisconsin Department of Transportation

(WKOW) -- The passenger rail project between the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Chicago is open for public comment.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is teaming up with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to get the public's input on the proposed intercity passenger rail service improvements for the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago corridor.

The recorded presentation is on the WisDOT website and has information on the anticipated project schedule, service improvements, and proposed railroad work.

WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said, “the importance of intercity connectivity and travel options cannot be overlooked when considering regional transportation.”

Thompson hopes to provide more transportation options for the expanding population of young professionals will grow the local economy. He continued by saying, “this project leverages the existing rail corridor and passenger rail service to significantly improve the value of this transportation option across the state. This not only serves major Midwestern cities, but many rural communities along the route.”

The project will maintain and expand upon the current 411-mile rail corridor by adding a second, daily round trip along the route. 

The primary benefit of this is to provide residents of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois convenient access to jobs, cultural attractions, top universities, and world-class healthcare.

The Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago Passenger Rail Project has the infrastructure to upgrade, including:

  • Improvements to the railroad track, at-grade crossing, signal and communication infrastructure in Winona, MN; La Crescent, MN; and La Crosse, WI, to allow freight trains to bypass passenger trains and reduce delays.
  • Renovations to interior space at the former Amtrak Midway Station in Saint Paul to serve as a crew base, layover and commissary facility if deemed necessary. 

If the project is approved, the building will begin in 2022, and the service will start in 2024.

WisDOT asks that you submit comments via the online comment form by April 9. 

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