Minnesota economy has a stake in rail – study

When you talk about transportation needs, this report argues that freight rail is critical to the economic well being of Minnesota and should not be overlooked when discussing transportation funding.

As reported by Capitol Report, freight rail is particularly important to “outstate towns where grain elevators sit along rail lines . (T)he rail industry is an economic engine even after widespread consolidation in the grain industry over the past three decades.”

CR also pointed out that “rail claims a 14 percent share — or $1.23 billion — of Minnesota’s gross state product, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data.” And “freight rail use in Minnesota is 52 percent greater than the national average, according to data compiled by Lee Munnich, a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs who focuses on transportation policy and finance.”

With two Class 1 rail lines moving through Mankato and the discussion of high speed passenger service connect to the Twin Cities – and the timely release of this study – one would suspect that rail will want to be at the bargaining table.