Thursday, March 08, 2018

North Lights Express project can seek funding with FONSI clearance

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North Lights Express project can seek funding with FONSI clearance MnDOT

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the Tier 2 environmental assessment for the Northern Lights Express (NLX) higher speed intercity passenger rail project.

 

 

The FRA's decision signifies that the NLX Project will not significantly impact the environment and it can move forward in efforts to seek funding for the project's final design and construction. The work is planned between Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn.

The FRA, MnDOT and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation produced a Tier 2 EA for the NLX Project, evaluating the 152-mile project corridor's potential social, economic and environmental impacts.

The document was available for public comment for one month from April 24 to May 24, 2017. Comments were considered by the FRA in the FONSI and during its preparation.

Under Minnesota's state environmental review process, MnDOT acts as the responsible governmental unit and issued a Findings of Facts and Conclusions, and a Negative Declaration. The declaration determined a state Environmental Impact Statement is not necessary, officials said.

The proposed project scope entails building and operating the infrastructure for a roughly 152-mile long, 90 mile-per-hour, higher-speed intercity passenger rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn. A segment of the line will travel through Douglas County, Wis.

Stations are proposed in six communities, and the NLX project would include a maintenance facility and one layover facility, officials said.

MnDOT said it will continue working with the FRA to find funding for the NLX project's final design and construction.