Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Statewide Rail Plan


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Key tasks

  • Communication plan to build relationships in public and private sectors will be executed, involving key decision-makers and stakeholders in Plan development. This outreach will both enhance MnDOT’s understanding of critical issues facing organizations and develop a set of prioritized needs.
  • Minnesota’s passenger and freight rail improvement strategy will be detailed, including Minnesota’s passenger and freight rail impact on the economy, the state’s ability to meet national passenger and freight rail goals, and the economic factors that increase growth and competitive edge.
  • An assessment of Minnesota’s current rail system demand will include an overview of the current system’s condition and performance (e.g. bottlenecks, performance and safety) and an evaluation of current freight transportation assets such as freight modal facilities and border crossings.
  • An assessment of Minnesota’s future rail system demand will forecast the state’s ability to handle projected freight and passenger growth. A 20-year forecast will identify trends, needs and issues and analyze strengths and weaknesses.
  • Performance-based metrics will measure performance of the overall infrastructure and evaluate the effectiveness of Minnesota’s freight and passenger rail system to serve passenger and shipper needs (e.g. profiles for districts).
  • Options for private passenger rail development and expanded public private partnerships will be evaluated for feasibility and sustainability. 
  • Federal Railroad Administration guidelines and MnDOT Plan Development Guidelines will be used to maintain compliance and uniformity with federal and departmental plans and policies, and with MAP-21.
  • Best practices in national rail planning will be used, such as metro area coordination and issues, other states' practices, funding, long-range planning, organizational structure, data and analytical tools, private sector participation, and multi-jurisdictional coordination.