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Ideas, options start to bubble for Rochester-Twin Cities rail

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It's years from reality and there's no money for construction or even design, but a proposed 100-mile high-speed passenger rail service line between Rochester and the Twin Cities took a baby step forward Tuesday.

Transportation officials released what they called a "scoping document" detailing eight corridor options as well as the project's potential social, economic and environmental impacts.

It will help guide development of a proposed route, known right now as Zip Rail. 

There is no continuous existing railroad connection right now between the Twin Cities and Rochester. But now there's a map with route ideas. The next step is a deep environmental review. The Minnesota Department of Transportation says it will pay for it with $2.3 million of mostly state funds.

Map of potential routes

Map courtesy of Zip Rail.