Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050

Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050 planning process is underway

Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050 will replace Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030 as the statewide long-range rail transportation plan. The entire planning process is scheduled to be completed by January 2022.

Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050 will focus on freight rail, rail crossing safety, and passenger rail, through the year 2050. The Rail Plan will support the vision for Wisconsin’s transportation system:

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) envisions an integrated multimodal transportation system that maximizes the safe and efficient movement of people and products throughout the state, enhancing economic productivity and the quality of Wisconsin’s communities while minimizing impacts to the natural environment.​​​​

Plan contents

The Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050 will include policies for railroad crossings, freight rail, Wisconsin’s state-owned rail system, long distance passenger rail, intercity rail, and commuter rail. The plan will specifically discuss rail data trends, existing and possible future service levels, rail system conditions, and commodity freight movements. Future rail-related improvements or plans will be outlined in a user-friendly format.  

WisDOT will consider environmental issues throughout the planning process. A System-plan Environmental Evaluation will be conducted if major or substantial changes to WisDOT’s policies or resources would result from the plan’s implementation.

The plan will include an environmental justice (EJ) analysis. The EJ analysis will present the plan’s potential impacts on racial minority populations, low-income populations, persons age 65 and older and households with no vehicles. The analysis in the plan is general and offers a starting point for more specific analysis that will be done when any project is implemented.

Sign Up for Updates


Public Involvement Plan (PIP)

Obtaining comment on the draft Public Involvement Plan was one of the first steps in updating the Rail Plan 2050. The public comment period ended August 28, 2020. The final Public Involvement Plan provides the big picture of what strategies will be used to involve the public during the long-range plan writing process. This PIP version reflects a minor administrative change to avoid potential confusion about the plan timeline.

Notice of Intent

The Notice of Intent is used to get feedback from the public about what generally will be included in the Rail Plan. The public comment period ended July 31, 2020. The Rail Plan will use existing policies from other WisDOT plans and Connect 2050, Wisconsin’s multimodal long-range transportation plan currently under development. Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050 will meet all federal and state long-range rail transportation planning requirements, including those of the Federal Railroad Administration.  


Diane Paoni, Bureau of Planning and Economic Development
Division of Transportation Investment Management
(608) 266-1402