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The Rochester - Twin Cities Rail Corridor (Zip Rail)

Beam Project Type: Project in Archive Phase

The Rochester - Twin Cities Rail Corridor, or Zip Rail, is an approximately 100-mile corridor located between Rochester and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area (Twin Cities). The corridor includes Olmsted, Dodge, Goodhue, Rice, Dakota, Ramsey and Hennepin counties. The rail corridor is planned to connect Rochester with existing and/or proposed transportation facilities in Minneapolis/St. Paul and is consistent with an eventual high speed passenger rail regional connection between the Twin Cities and Chicago. Zip Rail offers a different type of service than commuter rail or existing rail service:

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Lead Organization: North American High Speed Rail Group (NAHSR)

Confirmed Collaborators: North American High Speed Rail Group (NAHSR)

Potential Collaborators:

Detailed Description

ZIPRail rochester skyline.jpg






Level 1: Economic Development ; Transportation

Level 2:


Community Health:


Economic Growth

  • Zip Rail would contribute annual incremental economic activity of $987 million to the State of Minnesota, $84 million of that benefiting Olmsted County. Over 25 years, this incremental economic activity would total more than $16.8 billion to the state, including more than $1.4 billion to Olmsted County.
  • Additional annual income from employment growth would be $446 million across the State of Minnesota, $45 million of that benefiting Olmsted County. Over 25 years, this additional income from employment growth would total more than $7.6 billion for the state and more than $765 million for Olmsted County.
  • Annual tax revenues would increase by $46 million to the State of Minnesota, $3 million to Olmsted County and $94 million to the federal government. Over 25 years this additional tax revenue would total more than $784 million to the state, including more than $59 million to Olmsted County, and nearly $1.6 billion to the federal government.


Job Creation

  • The increased economic activity described above will, over 25 years, increase employment in Minnesota by 7,888 jobs, including an increase of 610 in Olmsted County.
  • During the course of construction of the line, 3,250 jobs would be created. Over the long term, 150 rail operations and maintenance jobs would be sustained.

User Benefits

  • The value of time savings to businesses is estimated at $25 million in the first year of operation resulting from worker productivity while in transit on Zip Rail versus the non-productive time of driving.
  • The value of time savings to individuals using Zip Rail is estimated at $4 million in the first year of operation.
  • An estimated 40 motor vehicle crashes would be avoided in the first year of Zip Rail operations, a monetized savings of $4 million.
  • Over 25 years, 1,188 crashes would be avoided, 10 of which would be classified as fatal; total monetary savings is estimated to be $88 million.
  • Zip Rail use would reduce motor vehicle petroleum use by approximately 2.5 million gallons and emissions by 22,000 metric tons in the first year of operation with a value of $750,000 in the first year and $16 million over the entire 25-year period.

Status Reports
Related PlanScape Status on: Economic Development, Transportation

June 26, 2016 The Rochester - Twin Cities Rail Corridor (Zip Rail): if becoming more real then what?

"It's full steam ahead for a private rail company looking to build a high-speed rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities. North American High Speed Rail Group's Chief Manager Wendy Meadley said a preliminary study of the possible route has not turned up any major problems." A lot of speculation still at this point. If becoming more real, how does ZIP rail end points get connected to Rochester transit system and DMC transportation network.

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October 06, 2015 Post Bulletin: The Rochester - Twin Cities Rail Corridor (Zip Rail)

With no federal funding for high-speed rail on the horizon, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials are considering suspending work on Zip Rail once an environmental review is done.

"We recognize that without a reliable source of funding for the planning and construction of a high-speed rail line, the project really just is in kind of limbo," said MnDOT Chief of Staff Eric Davis.

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February 08, 2019: Bloom Reconsiders Second Phases of Riverfront Project

"Bloom International Realty may be rethinking plans to build the second phase of its $230 million riverfront development in downtown Rochester.

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January 02, 2019: Rochester City Transit Development Plan References

Found the following links on Rochester City Website.  The City of Rochester is conducting four integrated transit studies to refine the concepts identified in the DMC Plan.

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December 21, 2018: Triton Hilton Hotel (Broadway at Center) Asking for more TIF

Rochester developer Gus Chafoulias wants an additional $6.5 million in city assistance to pay for the nearly-complete Hilton hotel project.

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November 18, 2018: Age Friendly Community Survey

How well is Rochester meeting your needs as you age? A survey.

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November 06, 2018: DMC Transportation Plan Status

Status reports and documentations presented to DMCC.

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October 04, 2018: 6 Crtical Components for Discovery Square

Presented to DMCC Board in its September 2018 board meeting.


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September 19, 2018: November 2017 DMC Dashboard

September 2018 DMCC Board Meeting, YE 2017 DMC Metrics per Nov. 2, 2017 DMCC Board Meeting.

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August 08, 2018: Riverfront project gets first nod per Post Bulletin Report

"Early plans for a $180 million construction project along the Zumbro River received some enthusiastic support from Rochester's Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday night." 

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July 11, 2018: Prosperity Initiative


Minority Business Conference hosted by SBDC, Diversity Council and Prosperity Initiative

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Last modified by allnode on 2017/09/03
Created by allnode on 2015/05/05

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