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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Economic benefits for Rochester-Twin Cities HSR line would exceed project cost, economic development group says


Today, the Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. (RAEDI) released a report showing that a proposed high-speed passenger-rail link between Rochester, Minn., and the Twin Cities could generate economic benefits that would “easily exceed” the project’s initial capital investment and long-term operating cost.

R.L. Banks & Associates conducted a study that measured a variety of economic benefits of the so-called Zip Rail line — which would serve Minnesota’s growing bio-medical corridor — including increased long-term employment, income, tax revenue, economic output, construction-related jobs, and user benefits such as reduced travel times.
Specifically, the study found that Zip Rail would:
• generate economic activity totaling $987 million annually statewide;
• generate additional income from employment growth of $446 million statewide;
• add nearly 7,900 jobs statewide over a 25-year period;
• generate time savings valued at $25 million for businesses and $4 million for individuals; and
• reduce motor vehicle petroleum use by about 2.5 million gallons in the first year of operation.

The Southeast Minnesota Rail Alliance has proposed building dedicated track between Rochester and the Twin Cities, and operating trains at speeds between 150 mph and 220 mph. Preliminary estimates peg the project cost at $973 million. The alliance proposes using a mix of federal, state and local dollars to fund the project.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/26/2012