As any Walking Dead and Z Nation fan knows, the only way to give mercy to a zombie is a blow to the head.
Thus we read this passage in Heather Carlson's All roads -- and modes -- lead to Rochester in the Post Bulletin with great interest:
In recent years, there has been plenty of talk about a potential high-speed rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities. But so far, those efforts have failed to advance. . . .
Reiter said that when it comes to rail, there have been inaccurate statements made in the past about the number of Twin Cities commuters.
"There've been comments in the past going back a number of years that we have a couple of thousand people coming from the Twin Cities that work here. There's just no evidence that's really true," Reiter said.
Instead, he said the numbers are more like 400 to 600. He said those ridership numbers would make a rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities a challenge — unless there was a connection to Chicago as well.
Could that teeny-tiny data point be the blow to the brain that buries a land-grabbing, short-line high-speed rail project? We hesitate to say yes.
Indeed, as we were writing this post, Google Alert sent notice of this article, Answer Man: Some worry that Zip Rail is an unkillable zombie:
Dear Answer Man, will you answer this once and for all: Is Zip Rail dead or is it not dead?
But what if Zip Rail just looks dead and is a zombie, just waiting for the right moment to get back on track?
At some point down the road, some brave souls may try another plan for a high-speed passenger train between Rochester and the Twin Cities. But I guarantee you that if they do, it won't be called Zip Rail. That name has been rendered unusable by opponents of the project. Its only value now is as a political bogeyman. . . .
The Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority, which was working with MnDOT on the idea, voted in January 2016 to drop the idea.
That's not enough for Zip Rail opponents such as Rep. Steve Drazkowski, who wants to insert language into a bill to drive yet another stake through the project, removing any reference to Zip Rail in the state rail plain. Drazkowski previously has tried to link Zip Rail to limiting Rochester and Olmsted County's options with Destination Medical Center.
Zip Rail opponents in Dodge County also drove another stake through it last month at a meeting of the Dodge County Rail Authority, reaffirming a three-year-old resolution against the long-defunct project.
To repeat: There's no one in a position of authority regarding trains, planes or automobiles who believes Zip Rail is undead. It's dead. . . .
But I asked Senjem's Rochester Republican colleague, Sen. Carla Nelson, and she says Zip Rail is more in the zombie category. "Nothing is dead until the gavel drops and we adjourn sine die, which is the first first Monday after the third Saturday in an even year -- May 21, 2018.
"Of course, there is always the next legislative session, at which time anything can happen."
Having watched the Minnesota Legislature for years, we're inclined to agree with Nelson. And short of a real zombie outbreak, the legislature will continue to meet, year in, year out.
Photo: Zombie Ziprail isn't exactly like this. It just seems like it (above); Anti-Zombie Ziprail signs near Rochester, Minnesota.
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