Why Rail?

BACK TO THE FUTURE
Passenger rail service is growing again fast where development investments have been made: the Northeast Corridor, California, Illinois, the Pacific Northwest, North Carolina, and other areas. Critical transportation, economic, environmental, social, demographic, and political issues are converging to make trains important to our future here in Wisconsin.

For the rapidly growing Chippewa and St. Croix valleys, passenger rail service would provide a viable option to meet transportation needs now and in the future. Two options currently exist; High-speed intercity service to connect Hudson, Menomonie, Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls and Black River Falls to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago, and potential commuter rail service to and from Minneapolis/St. Paul.

WHAT THE FUTURE COULD LOOK LIKE
•    Intercity rail travel times from Eau Claire to:
>> St. Paul/Minneapolis . . . . . 1 1/2 hours
>> Madison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1/2 hours
>> Milwaukee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1/2 hours
>> Chicago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 1/2 hours
•    Smooth, upgraded tracks allowing for frequent trains at 80 to 110 mph
•    Comfortable, roomy seating with large windows and power for laptop computers
•    Café service for light meals, beverages
•    More productive time for business travelers and commuters avoid congestion on I-94
•    More leisure time for travelers visiting Wisconsin

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
SOCIAL
•    Fast growing region – 4 of the 13 Wisconsin counties are projected to grow 24%+ by 2030
•    Accessibility and attractiveness for regional educational institutions (approx. 35,000 area college students)
•    Increased mobility for aging and lower income populations
•    Cost-effective, productive alternative to driving for business and leisure travels

ECONOMIC
•    The route by virtue of length would create more construction jobs and dollars for the state
•    High-speed rail access will become as important for development  in the future as the interstate
•    Alternative to increasing I-94 congestion (adding more lanes)
•    Continued development of the I-94 Technology Corridor
•    Potential daily commuter service
•    Connectivity with local and regional highway, transit and air transportation
•    Productivity of places and ability to compete nationally /globally expands
•    Economic development increases in transit oriented development and commuting to job clusters. Over 2,000 acres of vacant land exist in industrial and business parks located along or near the line
•    Induced demand grows- the ability for travelers to visit places faster and more often

ENVIRONMENTAL
•    Increase energy efficiency
•    Use of less oil per passenger compared to automobiles
•    Substantial greenhouse gas reduction
•    Uses existing transportation corridors and takes up less land then freeways
•    Reduces sprawl and fosters more sound land use patterns

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