Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

State Rail Plan

Statewide Rail Plan logo.

About the Plan

Now in process for its mandated five-year update, the Minnesota State Rail Plan is MnDOT's modal plan for the state's freight and passenger rail system.

In alignment with Minnesota GO, the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan, the Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan and other documents, it will provide an overall framework for effective use of the state’s freight and passenger rail network and its future development.

The plan will identify priority rail corridors, programs, and projects that offer effective improvements or expansion for passenger and freight travel in and out of Minnesota.    

Rail train.

Key tasks

  • Minnesota’s passenger and freight rail improvement strategy will be detailed, including Minnesota’s passenger and freight rail impact on the economy, the state’s ability to meet national passenger and freight rail goals, and the economic factors that increase growth and competitive edge.
  • An assessment of Minnesota’s current rail system demand will include an overview of the current system’s condition and performance (e.g. bottlenecks, performance and safety) and an evaluation of current freight transportation assets such as freight modal facilities and border crossings.
  • An assessment of Minnesota’s future rail system demand will forecast the state’s ability to handle projected freight and passenger growth. A 20-year forecast will identify trends, needs and issues and analyze strengths and weaknesses.
  • Performance-based metrics will measure performance of the overall infrastructure and evaluate the effectiveness of Minnesota’s freight and passenger rail system to serve passenger and shipper needs (e.g. profiles for districts).
  • Best practices in national rail planning will be used, such as metro area coordination and issues, other states' practices, funding, long-range planning, organizational structure, data and analytical tools, private sector participation, and multi-jurisdictional coordination.