Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Sept. 5, 2013

Orange barrels on a highway

Federal Railroad Administration finds ‘no significant impact’ on environmental assessment of Minneapolis to Duluth high-speed rail

Project proceeds to preliminary engineering

ST. PAUL, Minn. –The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact on the Tier 1 Service Level Environmental Assessment for the Northern Lights Express High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Project between Minneapolis and Duluth.

FRA’s issuance of a FONSI on Aug. 21 means that the NLX Project will not have significant environmental impacts and, therefore, can proceed to the preliminary engineering and Tier 2 project level environmental documentation phase.

The Tier 1 EA examined the 155-mile project corridor for social, economic and environmental impacts. The proposed project includes constructing necessary infrastructure for a high-speed intercity passenger rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn., a portion of which travels through Douglas County in Wisconsin. Trains will reach speeds up to 110 miles per hour.

The Tier 1 EA was made available for public comment in spring 2013. The FRA took those comments into consideration in preparing the FONSI, which is available at www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0624.

Under the state environmental review process, MnDOT, serving as the responsible governmental unit, also has issued a Findings of Fact and Conclusion and a Negative Declaration, indicating that a state Environmental Impact Statement is not required. The state documents are available at www.mndot.gov/nlx.

Tier 2 project level environmental documentation and preliminary engineering will proceed during the next two years.



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