Congressman Jim Oberstar, DFL-Minn., says Minnesota lost out on federal stimulus money for high-speed rail because the state failed to hatch a detailed plan for future rail projects.
Oberstar told reporters Thursday that Minnesota hasn't had a governor who championed high-speed rail for about 20 years.
Last month, the federal government gave more than $800 million to Wisconsin to connect Milwaukee and Madison. But Minnesota received only $600,000 to help it decide on a route to Chicago. Oberstar says Minnesota is playing catch up.
"The state of Wisconsin has done the design, engineering, and right of way negotiations with the freight railroads to position itself to be ready," Oberstar said. "That's what you have to do."
A spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty noted that MnDOT completed the state's first comprehensive rail plan under Pawlenty's leadership. A draft of the plan was released in December.