WI and MN Looking to Expand Rail Service

1/16/12 – Wisconsin and Minnesota officials are looking into the possibility of expanding Amtrak passenger rail service. A feasbility study is expected to begin in the next couple of months on adding a second round-trip each day between Chicago and Minneapolis-Saint Paul as part of Amtrak’s long-established Empire Builder. That’s the train which currently goes through Milwaukee, Columbus, Portage, and La Crosse among other places. Amtrak says the Badger and Gopher states would have to pay the costs of the added service, because Congress has ordered the national railroad to find outside funding for any new expansions. The two states would also have to share the costs of the feasibility study. The six-month study is expected to cost around 60-thousand dollars. State railroad official Ron Adams says Wisconsin is now trying to come up with its share. The proposed expansion is separate from a recent Minnesota study which suggested high-speed rail tracks along the Empire Builder route.