Dakota County has an ongoing role in state and federal planning efforts for passenger rail service, including high speed rail. The Dakota County Regional Railroad Authority currently participates on the Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission, which advocates for the development of a high-speed rail connection between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago as part of a larger Midwestern high-speed rail network.
The route endorsed by the Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission crosses through the southeastern part of Dakota County near Hastings. MnDOT is currently completing a Service Alternatives Evaluation to determine service, capital and operating characteristics.
The Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission also supports ongoing efforts of MnDOT, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and La Crosse County, Wisconsin to establish a second daily trip on Amtrak's Empire Builder route between St. Paul and Chicago. MnDOT is leading planning and technical work towards implementing this expanded service.
MnDOT has also defined and prioritized several additional passenger rail projects throughout the state and region through its 2015 Statewide Rail Plan.