The North American High Speed Rail Group double-plus promises everyone that it's going to be completely, one-hundred-percent totally amazeballs privately built and operated.
But the explanation from its mighty strategic communications director, Social Wendy Meadley, on why the corporation needed an extension on its two non-metro work permits for MNDOT right-of-ways suggest that this private passenger rail project isn't going anywhere without public assistance.
The Post Bulletin's Heather Carlson reported Wednesday in Not so fast: high-speed rail plan advancing slower than expected:
Earlier this month, the rail group requested the Minnesota Department of Transportation extend the deadline for two work permits set to expire at the end of the month. MnDOT granted the request, setting a new deadline of Dec. 1 for the permits. . . .
Initially, the company had hoped to complete its preliminary study of the line by the end of the month and present a summary report to MnDOT. But Meadley said the rail group needs more time to meet with key stakeholders before making a final decision whether to push ahead with the project. One reason for the delay was discussions about a possible special legislative session this summer, which made it tough to talk with key officials.
"There were stakeholder meetings that we needed to have that were basically delayed because of the potential special session," she said.
Minnesotans may have noticed that the entire business of government has shut down while those details about a special session are worked out. No? Bluestem missed that part too.
There's the other question about "stakeholder meetings" of course: if the train is private, why are "key officials" and the agencies and bodies they represent "stakeholders" at all?
Moreover, the sentence "North American High Speed Rail Group is seeking to build the first privately financed high-speed rail line in the United States" seems to exist in a Shangri-la for scheming grifters. Although it's meeting resistance, Texas Central, a private 240-mile line between Dallas and Houston, hopes to begin construction in 2017. Unlike the North American High Speed Rail Group, Texas Central has announced its foreign partner, Japanese train operator JR Central.
Image: Marge Simpson stops by the office in "Marge vs. the Monorail." Perhaps this is the potential partner Wendy Meadley is courting.
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