Getting on board with the zip rail

ROCHESTER, Minnesota - From reducing traffic, to making it easier to get to places quickly, there are a lot of reasons for growing areas to look into high-speed mass transit.  Rochester and the Twin Cities are looking to connect with a high speed transit system. A zip-line would link downtown Rochester with the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

Those in Rochester were all eyes and ears at a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the new rail plans.

“I’ve always thought it would be really convenient to have a way to get from here to the Twin Cities, without taking a car, because it can take a long time,” said Madi Culp from Rochester.

“I’m attending this meeting to find out what the progress has been, and what they’re planning.  Every time I talk to them, it seems to be a different story,” said Max Sullivan from Rochester.

The main focus at Tuesday’s meeting is on Tier One of the plans, which includes the impact the project would have on the environment.  It also means boiling down the alternative routes to two or three that are manageable.  For Sullivan, while he may not be a fan of the plan, he feels it won’t be coming to a halt anytime soon, just because some people aren’t happy with it.

“There is nothing we can do or say to change this.  It’s just a matter of getting the information, so we can act on it later,” said Sullivan.

One way they can act on it, is providing some input, whether it be telling them their concerns now or emailing them later.  Olmsted County Commissioner, Ken Brown says, he feels this is needed with Rochester’s growing population.

“With the advent of Mayo’s growth and the community’s growth, a train to the cities is paramount in getting employees and patients back and forth,” said Brown.

Brown and other leaders in the project plan on showing Sullivan and others, that no matter what, they’re here to listen before this train comes rolling in.

“Show them the alternatives designed to date, where we are in the process, and open for comment.”

Right now the location of the terminal may be near North Broadway and the Civic Center Area.

It would connect to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport and Union Depot in Saint Paul.  One intermediate stop is also being considered in Southern Dakota County.

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