Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Minneapolis/St. Paul - Milwaukee High-Speed Rail


Image Header

Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement

I-494 Ramp Closures
The route follows the existing Amtrak Hiawatha service through Milwaukee-Watertown-Portage-Tomah-LaCrosse-Winona-Hastings-St. Paul-Minneapolis. Click map for larger PDF version.

The Federal Railroad Administration in cooperation with MnDOT is in the process of preparing a Tier 1 Service Level Environmental Impact Statement for improved passenger rail service from the Twin Cities to Milwaukee. The study of the Twin Cities to Milwaukee High-Speed Rail Corridor to Chicago will analyze improvements required for the implementation of regional intercity passenger rail service in the Minneapolis-St. Paul to Milwaukee corridor. The proposed improvements will help complete the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI) vision for developing an improved and expanded passenger rail system in the Midwest. The proposed service will eventually link to the existing Amtrak Hiawatha service between Milwaukee and Chicago. This study will be a major step in advancing passenger rail service in this highly populated corridor and extending service from Chicago to the Twin Cities.


  • Focus the purpose and need developed by MWRRI for the Twin Cities to Milwaukee Corridor
  • Evaluate train types, levels of service, and ridership
  • Analyze impacts to determine a preferred service and design alternative for the route alternative identified in the Alternative Selection Report as part of MWRRI Phase 7 Work

The Tier 1 EIS document will evaluate one or more service scenarios of the reasonable and feasible passenger rail alternative and a no build alternative. The evaluation will be based on:

  • Conceptual Engineering
  • Track Concepts
  • Capital Cost Estimate
  • Station Location Analysis
  • Environmental Analysis
  • Ridership
  • Operating Costs
  • Assessment of Benefits

The tiered environmental process will include a Draft Tier 1 EIS, a Final Tier 1 EIS, and a Tier 1 Record of Decision to conclude Tier 1.

Project schedule

View/print complete schedule (PDF)

  • 2014 - Draft Tier 1 EIS
  • 2015 - Finalize Tier 1 EIS

Next steps

Upon the conclusion of the Tier 1 study, detailed environmental analysis of the corridor and individual projects along the corridor will be identified to be studied in Tier 2 (Preliminary Engineering - PE phase) study.