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MnDOT seeks input on rail and transit plans

MnDOT seeks input on rail and transit plans

Public input is being sought for development of a statewide freight and passenger rail plan. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is also looking for comments on a draft of the Greater Minnesota Transit Plan.

Meetings will be held at seven locations around the state in April and early May.

MnDOT is asking transportation stakeholders, transit providers, local government officials and the traveling public to provide feedback.

"We invite the public to attend one of these open houses and give us their ideas about rail and transit issues that affect their lives and businesses," said Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel.

Public input from these open houses will help MnDOT develop a vision for effective use of the state's rail network and public transportation across Minnesota, said Sorel.

The 2009 Greater Minnesota Transit Plan is scheduled to be completed this spring.

The freight and passenger rail plan will be presented to the Minnesota Legislature in late 2009.

The transit plan will:

* Provide content and direction on public transit programs in Greater Minnesota.

* Identify steps for preserving Minnesota's investment in current public transit services.

* Look for opportunities to enhance public mobility options.

* Focus on services for the elderly, low income, disabled and commuters.

The freight and passenger rail plan will:

* Define public and private sector roles for use of rail in the state's transportation system.

* Identify priority intercity and high-speed passenger rail corridors for travel within and beyond Minnesota.

* Enhance national and international freight access to markets, services and logistics.

* Develop measures and guidelines for public investments in rail assets and services.

* Outline requirements for Minnesota's participation in national rail initiatives, programs and resources.

Meetings will be held in St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth, Roseville, Redwing, Mankato and Moorhead.

For more information call MnDOT's office of transit at 651-366-4191.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750