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MnDOT, Olmsted Co. propose Twin Cities-Rochester high-speed rail

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The Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority, along with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration are beginning a 2-year study of a proposed high-speed passenger rail, or Zip Rail, between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Rochester.

KARE 11 reports seven counties will be included in a plan to build a 100-mile rail line along or near Hwy 52.

An exact route is yet to be determined as the plan is in its very early stages. Construction is still several years away if the project is approved.

Olmsted County Commissioner Ken Brown tells KARE that 80 percent of the rail's cost would be covered by federal money and the other 20 percent would likely come from state bonding.

MPR reports the rail line would be a boon for thousands of Mayo employees who commute from the Twin Cities to Rochester daily, as well as for patients who fly into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Mayo is Minnesota's largest private employer in the state with 32,000 employees. After Mayo's multibillion dollar-planned expansion, MPR reports the number of employees will more than double in the next 20 years.

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