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Minnesota Farm Bureau Submits Comments on Proposed ZipRail

Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) submitted comments on the concept of a 100-mile exclusive-use rail line corridor for the purpose of a high-speed, passenger-only train to connect a site to be determined in the Twin Cities with a site to be determined in Rochester (and very likely no stops in between). The comments came as part of the public comment process for a Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluation by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

 

Much of MFBF's comments sought clarification on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement which will be part of the analysis the Department of Transportation is conducting. One of the major questions is whether there is a decision process which will include the option of not going forward with the project.

 

MFBF stated that an initial concern involves the process being used for consideration and the "Tier" system that doesn't seem to provide a decision point where 'NO' is a possible outcome for moving the project forward.

 

The outline for public input included a set of 17 general areas, which MFBF noted had a high level of intertwined relationships which need to be considered as separate elements and in a comprehensive fashion. Topics drawing primary attention included land use, community impacts, community facilities/public services, transportation infrastructure and prime and unique farmlands.

 

Although a very practical question deals with the impacts of how to deal with (or even get from one side to the other) a corridor which dissects that landscape, there is also more statewide dynamic consideration of how the price tag for construction and operations of such a limited scope, exclusively-beneficial project, will compete for hard to come by transportation funding with benefits for everyone.

 

The MFBF comments for the Zip Rail project can be viewed here.

 

Minnesota Farm Bureau representing Farmers • Families • Food is comprised of 78 local Farm Bureaus across Minnesota. Members make their views known to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public. Programs for young farmers and ranchers develop leadership skills and improve farm management. Promotion and Education Committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom and safety education for children. Join Farm Bureau today and support our efforts to serve as an advocate for rural Minnesota, www.fbmn.org.


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