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Friday, November 18, 2011

La Crosse picked over Eau Claire for commuter train route

From an article in The Chippewa Herald:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Federal Railroad Administration says a route running along the Mississippi River is the most feasible and reasonable for a proposed high-speed commuter train between the Twin Cities and Chicago.

That puts an end to another option that would have sent the route along the I-94 corridor through Eau Claire.

However, not only is the preferred route in the earliest planning stages, but fixing the existing track for the entire high-speed line could cost as much $3 billion — and such funding isn't visible on the horizon.

But advocates hailed Tuesday's announcement as an important step in getting more money for faster passenger rail service.

"We're pleased that we're able to find a path to move forward and continue to develop the project ... if nothing else," said Dan Krom, director of the passenger rail office for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

“If we can get to Chicago in 5-1/2 hours, we can compete with autos,” Krom told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

1 comment:

  1. I have lived in both Eau Claire and La Crosse, and grew up in the Twin Cities. Of course a Minnesota-sponsored study would like the train to go through La Crosse and up through southeastern Minnesota rather than through Eau Claire (where the route covers more of Wisconsin). In my opinion however, the Eau Claire route makes more sense in terms of serving more potential economic and population growth and end up having faster and more reliable service. That being said, any solution should create rail routes through both Eau Claire and La Crosse. They don't need to be high speed, they just need to exist.