ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Government agencies have launched the first phase of an environmental review for the proposed Zip Rail high-speed railroad between the Twin Cities and Rochester.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the review will look at the social, economic and environmental impacts of eight potential routes, as well of not building the project.

The Zip Rail study area covers a 100-mile corridor between Rochester and the Twin Cities, which includes Dakota, Dodge, Goodhue, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey and Rice counties. The proposed end points include downtown Rochester, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and Union Depot in St. Paul.

There’s currently no continuous rail connection between the Twin Cities and Rochester. So the potential corridors would require land for new tracks.

A later review would include cost-benefit analyses, and ridership, revenue and cost estimates.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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