A fellow Lake City resident recently decried the noisy roar of freight and passenger rail trains that run along the Mississippi River ("Trains, trains -- get them on out of this place," Aug. 23). That roar is the sound of the most environmentally friendly, most economical way to move freight and people.

Trains have coexisted with the abundance of wildlife and beauty of bluffs and streams since the late 1800s. In fact, many of our neighbors can still remember the old Milwaukee Railroad Hiawatha trains that ran along this corridor at up to 90 miles per hour several decades ago.

With the track improvements necessary for high-speed rail from the Twin Cities to Chicago, this route will significantly increase freight capacity, which will grow our economy, make passenger rail a viable alternative to cars and planes, and increase safety by improving or eliminating at-grade crossings.

That roar you will hear is the sound of Minnesota businesses benefiting from quicker transport of freight. It will be the sound of new tourism dollars from families throughout the Midwest taking one of eight passenger trains a day to destinations in our beautiful river towns, including the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Lark Toys in Kellogg, Lake Pepin in Lake City, Prairie Island Casino in Red Wing and all the amenities of the Twin Cities.

And it's the sound of fuel savings and decreased emissions when you use trains instead of trucks, cars or planes.


The writer is a City Council member in Lake City and is a member of the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission.