Market research indicates there is strong public support (a 3-to-1 margin) for high-speed rail service between Chicago and the Twin Cities. When compared to other routes through Red Wing or Eau Claire, there is overwhelming support (70 percent) for the Rochester route.

Read the summary of the public opinion survey

Read the case statement


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What is high-speed passenger rail?

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Alliance building momentum? [link to Building Momentum page]

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Why Support High-Speed Passenger Rail through Rochester?

Momentum is growing toward inter-regional passenger rail. Policymakers are seeking new alternatives for the transportation infrastructure of the region and nation. In Minnesota, we are in the early stages of developing a statewide rail system connecting the major communities. Establishing a high-speed passenger rail line in southeastern Minnesota is an important development and one that will have a multi-generational impact.

As such, a route through southeastern Minnesota should serve the most people and create the most benefit for our region and our state. No other community in the area can match the size or economic potential of Rochester. In fact, Rochester would account for 14% of the major city-to-city movement for service along the entire Twin Cities and Chicago corridor.

Here are a few other reasons Rochester is the best choice:

A Growing Community and Economic Hub

  • Rochester is the largest economic center between Madison, Wisconsin and the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
  • It is the third largest city with 100,000 residents, and is projected to continue growing.
  • Rochester employs nearly 110,000 workers, reflecting its economic reach throughout southeast Minnesota
  • From 1998 to 2008, the Rochester area economy added jobs at twice the rate of both the state and nation.

A Health Care Destination

  • Rochester is home to Mayo Clinic, Minnesota’s largest private employer with more than 32,000 employees in Rochester and another 13,000 employees who work for Mayo Health System in 70 Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa communities.
  • Each year, more than 500,000 patients and visitors come to Mayo Clinic Rochester, travelling from all parts of the country.
  • The Mayo Clinic contributes roughly $4 billion to the state each year (1.3 percent of the total state’s economy), generates $311 million in tax revenue and directly or indirectly supports nearly 69,000 jobs within the state.
  • Rochester is home to one of the largest medical research campuses in the U.S., managing more than $400 million of medical research annually.

Inovating for the future

  • Rochester also boasts the title of “America’s Third Most Innovative City.”
  • Rochester businesses have the most patents per capita in the country.”
  • Milken Institute's Study of America's High-Tech Economy ranked Rochester as having the highest per capita concentration of high-tech businesses in the United States. In addition to the significant IBM operation located in Rochester, 20 new technology firms have formed in Rochester within the past 10 years.

Growing for tomorrow

  • Rochester is making significant investments in the emerging bioscience industry, investing in a new Biotechnology Center, growing the newly-established University of Minnesota-Rochester campus and building on the partnership between Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.
Southeast Minneaota Rail Alliance