By January 15, 2000, the commissioner shall adopt a commuter rail system plan to ensure that if commuter rail facilities are acquired, developed, constructed, owned, and operated in Minnesota, these activities will be done in an efficient, cost-effective manner, and in coordination with buses and other transportation modes and facilities. The commissioner shall consult with affected regional railroad authorities and may incorporate into its plan elements of the plans of regional railroad authorities in order to avoid duplication of efforts. The commissioner may periodically update the system plan.
The commuter rail system plan must be approved by metropolitan planning organizations in areas in which commuter rail will be located before the commissioner may begin final design of commuter rail facilities. Following approval of the plan, the commissioner shall act in conformity with the plan. The commissioner shall ensure that final design plans are consistent with the commuter rail plan.
The plan must include engineering standards that provide for integrated operation of all commuter rail equipment, facilities, and services, including security, station design parameters, fare box systems, and safety.
The commissioner and metropolitan planning organizations shall ensure that if commuter rail facilities are planned, designed, and implemented in Minnesota, they will be planned, designed, and implemented in such a way as to move transit users to, from, and within the metropolitan area, and to provide a unified, integrated, and efficient multimodal transportation system with rail transit lines that interface with each other and with other transportation facilities.