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Great River Rail Commissioners testify at House Committee Hearing

Great River Rail Commission - October 3, 2019

An important House of Representatives Transportation hearing (part of the 2019 mini-session) was held in Winona, MN on Thursday, Oct. 3. Rep. Alice Hausman presented two bills for discussion by the committee. One, HF1804, specifically supports the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) Second Train. The other, HF1493, supports statewide expansion of passenger rail infrastructure. More than 40 people were in attendance and a dozen people spoke during the public hearing, half of whom spoke in favor of a bonding bill supporting the TCMC Second Train and rail infrastructure statewide.

Winona Council member Paul Schollmeier and Red Wing Mayor Sean Dowse both spoke passionately about the importance of the TCMC Second Train for their communities and strongly encouraged the committee to pass a MNDOT bonding request for $10 million to pay for the project's final design studies, administration, and matching dollars for construction of the needed Minnesota improvements to side rails and the building of an actual platform in Winona. The current platform is not ADA compliant.

While the hearing was with the Transportation committee, both bills have been referred to the Capital Investment Committee. The goal is for funding to be appropriated for continued planning and matching funds for needed rail improvements by this committee through the 2020 bonding bill.

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