‘Global highway’ would reach Minnesota

The head of Russia’s railway system revealed an extraordinary plan this week that may one day involve the state of Minnesota.

Vladimir Yakunin, a high ranking member of Vladimir Putin’s cabinet and widely seen as a potential successor to the Russian leader, is proposing a global highway that would start in London and traverse Europe and all of Russia, crossing the Bering Strait at Nome, Alaska, before proceeding through Canada, Minnesota, and on to New York City. CNN posted its interpretation of Yakunin’s proposal, which suggests the Minnesota route.

The plan, first detailed in the Siberian Times newspaper and explored further in the UK Independent and many other publications, would cost trillions of dollars and require complicated international agreements, but isn’t unthinkable. China is exploring a high speed rail line that would connect Europe to Beijing, and they, too, have mentioned long range hopes of extending that line to North America. The project wouldn’t just be a public transit concept, but rather a system of international trade.

With the expense (and increasing scrutiny) of air travel, the idea of using traditional land routes to expand trade and travel among an increasingly interdependent world offers much to the imagination. Though Minnesota’s position along the route is purely speculative, it’s fascinating to think of European travelers and exotic trains passing along the route of the old Great Northern railway, stopping off at Bud’s Diner in Floodwood or Brewed Awakenings in downtown Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Perhaps Taconite, Minnesota, near the proposed route, will be able to expand its self-declared moniker “Hub of the Nation” to “Hub of the World.”

But the real winner here would be Siberia, where a number of new gas stations and hotels would need to be built to serve the coming transitory tide.

What are your thoughts on the highway?

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