From: Paul Schollmeier
Winona City Council
Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission
Passenger rail service from the Twin Cities to Chicago is very important to our community as service between these points includes a much-used stop here in Winona. A recent survey by the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation showed that four in 10 Southeast Minnesota college students had ridden Amtrak and would ride more often if service was available. (Mn/DOT survey results can be found here http://www.dot.state.mn.us/newsrels/17/03/23survey.html.)
Our community has a strong relationship with our educational institutions and the revenue they generate. Rail service provides students and travelers an opportunity to reach Winona without the added expense of owning and operating an automobile while relieving some of the parking stress the many student owned vehicles create within our neighborhoods.
Significant additional ridership is foreseen, enough to support a second train from Chicago to St. Paul. Infrastructure improvements to accommodate a second train would significantly improve rail crossing and rail yard concerns for both our businesses and citizens in Winona. Expanding passenger rail services along the River Route in Minnesota takes the combined effort of local elected officials, business and community leaders, and residents.
The House and Senate versions of omnibus transportation bills provide NO funding for passenger rail activities. As a member of the Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission I encourage you to reach out to elected state and federal leaders to support Amtrak and the service it provides to our community. Your involvement is welcome and vital to the success of the vision of the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission. You can find out more at the Minnesota High Speed Rail website at http://www.mnhighspeedrail.com/html/get-involved, or contact one of the legislative leaders below who control the conversation.
• Rep. Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House, 651-296-5364, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Sen. Paul Gazelka, Senate Majority Leader, 651-296-4875, email@example.com
• Rep. Dean Urdahl, Chair, Capital Investment Committee, 651-296-4344 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Sen. David Senjem, Chair, Capital Investment Committee, 651-296-3903, email@example.com
• Governor Mark Dayton, @GovMarkDayton, toll free: 800-657-3717