Dodge County Rail Authority takes no action on resolution
MANTORVILLE — The Dodge County Rail Authority on Tuesday decided to pass on a resolution from Olmsted County asking for support for a high-speed rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities.
The Goodhue County Board approved the resolution last week.
Commissioner David Erickson said, "They’re going to spend the money whether or not we approve this resolution." He was referring to the $2 million that has already been appropriated for the rail study.
Commissioner Lyle Tjossas agreed and said, "A high-speed railroad that is less than 100 miles long is just not feasible. And then to spend all this money to do a study."
The resolution seeks support for "the continuing evaluation of the Twin Cities to Rochester high-speed passenger rail corridor project by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration."
County Board member David Hanson said he contacted Dave Christensen, a senior planner with MnDOT who also is project manager for the state rail plan. Hanson asked Christensen whether the county's participation in future meetings would be affected if the board remained neutral on the resolution. Christensen said the county would still be invited.
County Board member Jane Olive said, "We do not benefit by signing."
Board chairman Don Gray said that if the line is built, it would create a virtual wall along the route.
"What a mess that would be for a farmer to get his goods to market," he said. "If the route goes through northeast Dodge County, it borders on being a disaster for that area.
"I’m opposed in any way, shape, or form to signing this."
Board members discussed whether to vote no on the resolution or to not take action. They decided to return the resolution unsigned.
The study is one of three that MnDOT is spearheading in the region. One study is for the high-speed rail, one is for freight rail bypass options around Rochester and another is the Regional Freight Study for District 6.