The La Crosse Area Planning Committee is working to improve rail services along the Mississippi Corridor, particularly here in La Crosse.
The group joined the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission as a voting member and financial contributor. The commission supports rail transportation services across the state of Minnesota.
The La Crosse Area Planning Committee said now is a critical time to join the commission, especially as work begins on adding a second passenger train to travel that corridor from Minneapolis to Chicago.
"There's only one train a day going from Minneapolis to Milwaukee and also from Milwaukee, Chicago to Minneapolis so it's very difficult to travel up and back in one day," Tom Faella, the executive director of the La Crosse Area Planning Committee said.
The committee is working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to add another daily train to help improve travel for passengers. Faella said joining with rail partners across the region will help move that project forward.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will provide $300,000 towards the project, as will the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority. The Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission committed $50,000 and the La Crosse Area Planning Committee committed $10,000. Initial analyses estimate the cost to add another train is between $850,000 and $1.25 million. The LAPC said work on the project can begin before additional funding sources are identified.
Long term, Faella said he'd like to see 6 or 7 trains go through in a day in each direction.