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Minnesota plans St. Paul to Eau Claire passenger rail line

Forum News Service HUDSON, Wis. -- A passenger train with four roundtrips daily between St. Paul and Eau Claire is in a Minnesota Department of Transportation plan to be implemented within the next 20 years. But the planned passenger line won't h...

Forum News Service

 

HUDSON, Wis. -- A passenger train with four roundtrips daily between St. Paul and Eau Claire is in a Minnesota Department of Transportation plan to be implemented within the next 20 years.

But the planned passenger line won’t happen without local and area support and involvement, according to the St. Croix Valley Rail Group, which advocates for the restoration of passenger rail service to St. Croix County.

The nonpartisan group comprised of 50 citizens from Hudson, River Falls and New Richmond has scheduled two public programs on Minnesota’s plan that will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

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The first is at 5:30 p.m. at the River Falls Public Library, 140 Union St. The second is at 7 p.m. at the Hudson House Grand Hotel, 1616 Crest View Drive.

The featured speakers will be Minnesota transportation planner Dave Christianson and Scott Rogers of Eau Claire, director of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce and chair of the West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition.

“Historically, transportation availability determines economic prosperity,” the St. Croix Valley Rail Group said in announcing the meetings. “A passenger train is critical to our future economic viability, including business prosperity, housing values and population growth.”

The group cites a Washington Post story saying that mass transit is now considered an economic development tool to attract millennials, along with their employers.

The group says it believes the Eau Claire line is likely to happen because it is in the interest of the Twin Cities and Minnesota to connect with its biggest regional economic partner.

“There are many cities in both Minnesota and Iowa that want MinnDOT’s attention and inclusion in passenger rail. It is unlikely MinnDOT would spend time and money on a passenger rail line that is a long shot to happen,” the group said in its meeting announcement.

The group also is advocating for a train station in the Hudson area.

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