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Report: Zip Rail may be part of plan to bring World's Fair to Minnesota

Report: Zip Rail may be part of plan to bring World's Fair to Minnesota

(THE MED CITY BEAT) - A company interested in potentially building a high-speed commuter rail from the Twin Cities to Rochester is also pushing a proposal to bring the World's Fair to Minnesota.

Heather Carlson of the Post Bulletin reported this week that North American High Speed Rail Group wants to use the two projects as catalysts for real estate development in the state.

High-speed rail

North American announced last month that it had pulled together a group of private investors to fund what's now called the "Zip Rail." Company leaders have been meeting with local and state lawmakers for several months to discuss the project — though neither side is revealing too many details.

The Zip Rail project is now advancing through the first phase of a two-step environmental impact review project. Republican lawmakers in the Minnesota Legislature have fought vigorously in recent months to make sure the project does not receive any public funding past the planning stage.

The rail would travel directly from downtown Rochester to Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport and/or Union Depot in St. Paul.

The estimated cost of the project is somewhere in the ballpark of $2 to $4 billion. North American has said it would like to complete the project by 2022. 

World's Fair

A committee of business and civic leaders announced last week that it plans to submit a bid to host the World's Fair in 2023.

“Expo 2023 will showcase Minnesota’s global leadership in a wide range of economic, social and civic arenas, including healthcare and wellness,” said bid director Mark Ritchie, a former Minnesota secretary of state. 

Minnesota’s bid is for a smaller event that is scheduled between the bigger ones that are held every five years. The committee predicts the three-month event would bring 12 million visitors to Minnesota.

 
 

It's possible that events could be held outside the Twin Cities — which is presumably where the high-speed rail would come into play.

Minnesota is set to host two high-profile events in coming years: the Super Bowl in 2018 and the NCAA Men's Final Four in 2019.


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