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Developments in Rochester Zip Rail Project

Updated: 01/17/2014 6:18 PM
Created: 01/17/2014 5:38 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- There are new developments surrounding the idea of a high speed zip rail from Rochester to the Twins Cities. We sat in on the Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments meeting this afternoon, where they laid out plans for where the zip rail could stop in our area.

City and county officials have narrowed it down to a handful of routes this zip rail could take. They are looking at two possible stations in the Twins Cities - either the airport or the Union Depot in Saint Paul. The high speed rail would then travel south along either Highway 52 or 56. The target station areas in Rochester would be the downtown area - and or - the Rochester International Airport. There's talk of a downtown station being built where the power plant is now, but nothing is set in stone.

The main factor here is looking to minimize impact as much as possible, with cost effectiveness at the forefront of the discussion.

"It's got to make sense financially and then within the context of that is kind of an overriding factor then all the factors about the alignment and making it an efficient service that's going to be attractive for people to use,” said Charles Reiter, Principle Transportation Planner.

Phase two will look at the environmental impact and should begin next fall. That phase will cost $15 million alone and the cost of construction is well beyond that.

So where the money is coming from is the number one priority here. Those involved tell us it will likely be more than five years before construction begins.