News Release

La Crosse Area Planning Committee welcomed to Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission

Minnesota High-Speed Rail - July 7, 2016

Contact

Kevin Roggenbuck

MN High-Speed Rail Commission

(651)266-2790

kevin.roggenbuck@co.ramsey.mn.us

Tom Faella

La Crosse Area Planning Committee

(608)785-5977

tfaella@lacrossecounty.org

Red Wing, Minn. (July 7, 2016) – The Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission formally welcomed the La Crosse Area Planning Committee (LAPC) to the commission as a voting member and financial partner at its meeting Thursday, July 7.

“This is a critical time to add the LAPC to the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Janice Rettman, chair of the commission. “We recognize the benefit of having an additional voting member and financial partner especially as the next phase of work begins on adding a second passenger train to the corridor.” Work has begun on an environmental analysis of adding a second daily round-trip train between the Twin Cities and Chicago.

The LAPC provides transportation planning activities for the La Crosse, Wisc. and La Crescent, Minn. areas which also includes a number of other cities, villages and townships. The LAPC has long been an ex-officio member of the commission, and had already committed some funds for previous high-speed rail studies. It chose to join the commission as a financial partner after a feasibility study for a second train was completed in 2015 showing promise in increased ridership.

“We felt it was time to demonstrate our full commitment to the High Speed Rail Commission,” said Tom Faella, executive director of the LAPC. “We believe adding additional passenger rail service soon, and potentially more service sometime in the future, will not only offer another reliable transportation alternative for our residents, it will improve our economy. Track improvements will mean more freight train capacity and will provide more safety investments to avoid derailments and accidents at crossings.”

The LAPC committed to helping to fund the environmental assessment for the second train this winter, joining a coalition of funding partners. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will provide $300,000, as will the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority. The Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission committed $50,000 and the La Crosse Area Planning Committee committed $10,000. The analysis is estimated to cost between $850,000 and $1.25 million. Work can begin before additional funding sources are identified. The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be the lead agency.

The commission invited the LAPC to join as a voting, dues paying member in 2015. The LAPC board voted to join the commission in November. The commission’s bylaws required resolutions to be approved by each of the voting members. That process was completed this spring and led to the LAPC’s admission to the commission.

About the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission

The Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission is one of the leading authoritative voices on high-speed rail in Minnesota. Comprised of elected officials from 18 local governments, the commission advocates for the development of Minnesota’s first high-speed rail line within the federally designated high-speed rail corridor that connects the Twin Cities to Milwaukee and Chicago. The commission is a strong proponent of bringing high-speed rail to the Midwest through the scenic upper Mississippi River valley. For more information visit http://www.mnhighspeedrail.com/index.php.

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