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Plans for fast Twin Cities-Chicago train hit speed bump

Prospects for a high-speed train between the Twin Cities and Chicago in the foreseeable future have disappeared, the casualty of funding shortfalls and political priorities.

The refusal of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, to accept federal money to build a link in the line "does kill it ... at least for the short term," said Jerry Miller, chairman of the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission. "We could be talking 10 to 15 years."

But transportation officials in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the federal government are continuing to work on proposals for a high-speed line, committing $1.2 million to plan possible routes in case prospects improve over the next few years.

While Minnesota says a system could be running by 2017, there is no indication that enough federal or state money will be available to make it happen.

After 15 years of pursuing high-speed rail from the Twin Cities to Chicago, advocates are focusing immediate attention on simply upgrading existing Amtrak service by adding a daily train or nudging up speeds.

The full story appears on the Minneapolis Star Tribune website.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

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