Near-Term Timeline for Project Development (Phase I)

March 2016

  • Draft summary of previous relevant corridor studies, including capital and operational components, costs, ridership, schedules, and revenue flows.

April 2016

  • Report on initial corporate contacts and discussions with Union Pacific Railway, as authorized by Council and conducted in Omaha, NE, on April 19, 2016. Report on UP passenger rail principles, format for continued engagement, possible operating entities, and scope of future agreements.
  • Discuss and determine most feasible order of ongoing activities including recruiting expanded support from regional partners and stakeholders.

May 2016

  • Discuss next steps to develop project as private self-sustaining venture.
  • Review CVTC Student projects for schedules, operational improvements.
  • Report from WCWRC on legislative needs, if any, including empowering Wisconsin corridor counties with joint authority for RRA or RTA.

June 2016

  • Advanced report on project feasibility, capital costs, components and equipment, and operating revenues and cash flows.
  • Continue efforts to develop input and support from stakeholders.

July 2016

  • Report on contacts with Association of Independent Passenger Rail Operators (AIPRO) and other potential contract operators.
  • Decision by Council to continue development of project.
  • Discussion and directives from Council on next steps including organizational structure, staffing, sharing of costs, publicity, opening of formal membership to expansion if indicated, coordination with WCWRC, and Phase 2 Project Timeline.

August 2016

  • Discuss and assign activities for immediate funding needs and options (grant requests, donations, other funding options).
  • Update membership initiatives and targets.
  • Update Feasibility Study, incorporate subsequent findings, expand detail.

September 2016

  • Draft potential structure of project organization, with emphasis on oversight, corporate and financial capacity, and limitation of liability.
  • Outline government affairs agenda.
  • Summary statement (one-pager) of Project scope and feasibility.
  • Draft “Resolution of Support” language for local governmental units, supporters.

October 2016

  • Council decisions on project corporate structure.

November 2016

  • Initial discussions with potential operators/partners on agreements, bundling of services, capital, and other necessary agreements.
  • Report on potential regulatory requirements (Federal Railroad Administration, Surface Transportation Board, state and local regulations)
  • Formal IRS filing for 501C-3 non-profit status for WCWRC.

December 2016

  • Resolution of Support from Eau Claire County.
  • Identify tentative cost of UP Capacity and Engineering Study.
  • Timeline and Reports updates.

January 2017

  • Report on contacts and meeting in Chicago, IL, with Capital Corridor LLC, passenger rail development, leasing, and venture capital firm.
  • Resolution of Support from Chippewa County, City of Eau Claire
  • Operational review of project progress and status.
  • Develop targets and timeline for project funding and start-up.

February 2017

  • Meetings in Washington, D.C., by Scott Rogers, Chair WCWRC, with US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Railroad Passengers, AIPRO.
  • Public presentation in Eau Claire by Corridor Capital LLC.
  • Define UWEC Student Projects for communications and design of project.

March 2017

  • Negotiate collateralized line of credit with RCU to establish financial capacity for UP Study.
  • Receive IRS approval for WCWRC non-profit 501C-3 status.

April 2017

  • Resolutions of Support from Ramsey County RRA, Pierce County.
  • Define UP terms of Reimbursement Agreement and scope of Capacity and Engineering Study.
  • Meetings with Capital Corridor LLC on status of US regional rail projects, potential structure of support, project management, and equipment leases available from CC LLC.

May 2017

  • Authorization by WCWRC Board and Organizing Council to enter into negotiations with UP on Agreement and Study.
  • Regional meetings with EDC’s and Chambers to inform and develop local corporate support.

June 2017

  • Negotiate draft of terms for Reimbursement Agreement and Capacity & Engineering Study with Union Pacific officials.
  • Recruit new members for Passenger Rail Organizing Council.
  • Receive reports and recommendations from UWEC Student Projects on communications, research, and funding.
  • Outreach to FRA Midwest Passenger Rail Planning initiative.

July 2017

  • Consider revised drafts of UP Reimbursement Agreement and Study
  • Revise and update website and social media
  • Revamp and accelerate interim funding drive.

August 2017

  • Begin UP Capacity and Engineering Study.
  • Press and social media announcements of project milestones, naming contest for project/corridor.

September 2017

  • Define and cooperate in Fall semester student projects by regional UW and technical college student groups.
  • FRA and associated regulatory review of project.

October 2017

  • Establish city/county collaborations for station area development and transit connectivity, including bus connectors to River Falls and Chippewa Falls.

November-December 2017

  • Expected receipt of UP Study results on capacity needs and estimated engineering costs.
  • Continuation of discussions with potential financial and contracting partners.

January-May 2018

  • Discussion of project needs and next steps.
  • Negotiate Memorandum of Understanding with UPRR.
  • Negotiate potential lease and contracting agreements.
  • Request Letters of Interest from potential contract operators, including pro forma ridership, cost, and operating estimates.

June-September 2018

  • Make contractual commitments for infrastructure upgrades, equipment leasing, facilities, and operators.
  • Begin consideration of Phase II expansion; direct service to Minneapolis and/or Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

October-December 2018

  • Tentative start of revenue service
  • Advance work on Phase II.
  • Discuss and consider desired Phase III expansions, including Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago; and/or incorporation into high speed service.