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Thursday, November 19, 2009

DOT undecided between La Crosse, Eau Claire high-speed rail routes

From an article by Steve Cahalan in the La Crosse Tribune:

The final version of a Wisconsin Department of Transportation long-range plan still has alternate routes through Eau Claire and La Crosse for high-speed passenger rail service between Tomah and the Twin Cities.

The DOT soon will study which route might be best.

The agency said Wednesday it has formally adopted its new Connections 2030 long-range plan, available online at www.wiconnections2030.gov.

Local business and government leaders argued at an Aug. 26 public hearing on the plan in La Crosse that studies years ago already had determined Amtrak's Empire Builder route is the most ideal in the region for planned high-speed passenger rail service between Chicago and St. Paul. That route goes through Tomah and La Crosse, as well as Winona and Red Wing in Minnesota.

Backers of that route announced last week they have formed the Empire Builder High Speed Rail Coalition.

Coalition members remain convinced that is the best route, said the group's coordinator, James Hill, who also is executive director of the La Crosse Area Development Corp.

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