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State plan's phase one leaves out Little Crow Transit (Minneapolis to Willmar) passenger service, endorses high-speed rail to Chicago

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State plan's phase one leaves out Little Crow Transit (Minneapolis to Willmar) passenger service, endorses high-speed rail to Chicago
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota transportation officials are going on the record in support of a high-speed rail line between the Twin Cities and Chicago, but leaves out of phase one the Little Crow Transit Way (Minneapolis to Willmar) passenger service concept.

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However, the statewide rail plan released Thursday didn't try to straighten out the knotty politics of picking a route through southeastern Minnesota.

The plan does recommend that both Minneapolis and St. Paul have stops on the line, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion.

However, the plan does not support in its phase one plan anything for the Little Crow Transit Way (Minnepolis to Willmar) passenger service or for any Minneapolis-Willmar-Sioux Falls passenger service.

The Little Crow Transit Way option has been pushed by Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, and Rep. Dean Urdhal, R-Grove City.

The state Legislature ordered up the plan last year, well before an infusion of $8 billion in federal stimulus money was earmarked for rail lines nationwide.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed the Twin Cities-Chicago route last spring.

The rail plan for the state also describes passenger rail service to St. Cloud, Moorhead, Mankato and Eau Claire, Wis.

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