WisDOT seeks public input for final design phase of Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago passenger rail project

Project will add a second round-trip between the cities

Amtrak train, courtesy of Shutterstock

Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 11:17 am

As the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) begins its final design phase of the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) passenger rail project it is seeking input from the public on the project.

The project will add a second, daily round-trip passenger rail service to the 411-mile corridor used by Amtrak’s long-distance Empire Builder route between Milwaukee and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), in coordination with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), has initiated the final design phase of the project and plans to schedule public involvement in late October or early November, according to a city of Milwaukee press release.

The design phase will include the development of detailed plans for the improvement areas and will provide opportunities for local governments, agencies, stakeholders, and the public to provide input on those plans. This final design phase is expected to be complete in summer 2023 with construction occurring from late 2023 into 2025. The additional train service is expected to start in 2024, or earlier, the press release states.

The design phase follows a robust planning and environmental study that determined improvements to rail infrastructure so the corridor can handle freight and increased passenger traffic.

The project has secured $53 million in federal, state, and Amtrak funding to allow the design and construction of tracks, signals, and railroad crossing improvements in La Crosse, La Crescent, Minn., and Winona, Minn. The existing stops and train platforms along the corridor will be used for the TCMC service.

In addition to public meetings, the project team will conduct meetings with stakeholders, local officials, and property owners as needed throughout the design phase. Meeting invitations will be emailed as well as periodic project updates.

Additional information about the project can be found here.

A WisDOT graphic gives a snap shot of the improvements planned as part of the TCMC rail project.

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Cara covers commercial and residential real estate. She has an extensive background in local government reporting and hopes to use her experience writing about both urban and rural redevelopment to better inform readers. Cara lives in Waukesha with her husband, a teenager, a toddler, a dog named Neutron, a bird named Potter, and a lizard named Peyoye. She loves music, food, and comedy, but not necessarily in that order.

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