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Minnesota, Wisconsin officials address passenger rail this week

Public meetings get underway this week about Midwest High Speed Rail. The sessions are a partnership between Minnesota and Wisconsin, even though those states may be heading in different directions on the proposed rail project.

Public meetings get underway this week about Midwest High Speed Rail. The sessions are a partnership between Minnesota and Wisconsin, even though those states may be heading in different directions on the proposed rail project.

Incoming Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker promises to block high speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison. That's even though the segment may be important to later expanding the rail service to western Wisconsin and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is aware of Walker's threat, and a similar one from Ohio's next governor, but is going ahead with several open houses about the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Milwaukee-Minnesota rail corridor.

MinnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht says the open houses are the logical next step in the EIS process.

The Wisconsin DOT is still a partner in the rail project EIS, and will host an open house Tuesday night in La Crosse.

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Sierra Club volunteer Rosemary Wehnes says it remains important to discuss high speed rail for western Wisconsin, and send a message to Gov.-elect Walker.

The federally-funded rail study is also looking at about a dozen alternative routes for the passenger rail project, including one that goes through Fond du Lac and Stevens Point.

Related Topics: TRANSPORTATION
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