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The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has extended the public comment period to Aug. 22 on a plan for passenger-rail service between the Twin Cities and Rochester.The department is is preparing a Tier I Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 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 Zip Rail.The Zip Rail study area includes a 100-mile corridor between Rochester and the Twin Cities. Currently, there is no continuous existing railroad connection between the Twin Cities and Rochester, so many of the potential corridors would create new transportation routes, MnDOT officials said in a press release.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 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 booklet and draft document are available for public review on the project website.
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