Zip Rail
Rochester-Twin Cities Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan - Tier 1 EIS

Rochester-Twin Cities high-speed rail begins Environmental Impact Statement work
March 16, 2015

Updated Zip Rail Program Schedule - March 2015

Download schedule as a PDF.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Several options for high-speed passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and Rochester will undergo the first phase of a two-step environmental impact statement review process.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority today filed a Notice of Intent to prepare a Tiered Environmental Impact Statement for the Zip Rail project.

The environmental review statement is required by the FRA if federal funding is sought for the project. The review process will ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

Based on public and agency input gathered during the scoping process and the technical analyses conducted to date, MnDOT determined that the no-build alternative and eight end-point to end-point corridors will be evaluated in the first phase (Tier 1) of the EIS. The Tier 1 EIS will examine the social, economic and environmental impacts of each option.

The Zip Rail study area covers approximately a 100-mile corridor between Rochester and the Twin Cities, which includes Dakota, Dodge, Goodhue, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey and Rice counties and various end points in the Twin Cities and Rochester. There is no continuous existing railroad connection between the Twin Cities and Rochester, so many of the potential corridors would create new transportation routes.

The public will have further opportunities to comment on the Zip Rail project in the future.

For more information about the Zip Rail project, visit the project website at

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Posted 01.20.15

Final Scoping Decision Document Released

The Final Scoping Decision document has been released and is now available on the Information Center page of this website and at local government offices and libraries throughout the corridor.  The Scoping Decision Document has been prepared to meet state environmental requirements and to guide the preparation of the Tier 1 EIS in accordance with federal regulations.

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