The latest plans for high-speed rail in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest would bypass Winona and other Mississippi River Valley communities in favor of Rochester.
In private discussions with top state officials this spring, a company called North American High Speed Rail Group (NAHSR) proposed the construction of an elevated high-speed rail line following Highway 52 from the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) Airport area to Interstate 90 south of Rochester. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation's (Mn/DOT) records obtained through a data request, the rail line would be situated on platforms above the ground, within the highway right-of-way. The trains would travel at 260-280 miles per hour, fast enough to deliver travelers from Rochester to the MSP Airport in 30 minutes. Ultimately, NAHSR officials have said they hope to extend the high-speed line to Chicago. If they succeed, Winona and other Mississippi River Valley communities would likely lose out on the high-speed rail development — and its potential economic benefits — they have been looking forward to.
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