Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

April 21, 2017

MnDOT releases Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment document for Northern Lights Express passenger rail project

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, have released the Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment document on the Northern Lights Express Project, a proposed higher speed intercity passenger rail project to provide rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth.

The NLX Project would operate on approximately 152 miles of existing BNSF railway track.

The agencies prepared the Tier 2 Project Level EA document to meet federal and state environmental requirements to advance the NLX Project into further design and project development.

The Tier 2 Project Level EA document will be available on the project website, www.mndot.gov/nlx, and at local government offices and libraries throughout the corridor on or after April 24. A list of locations to view the document is available below.

To request a document in an alternative format call 651-366-4718 or email ADArequest.dot@state.mn.us. Written comments on the Tier 2 Project Level EA are due by May 24, 2017. Send comments to Francis Loetterle, MnDOT, 395 John Ireland Boulevard, MS 470, St. Paul, MN 55155 or email to nlx.dot@state.mn.us.

MnDOT is also hosting public meetings to provide information on the Tier 2 Project Level EA, answer questions and offer an opportunity for public comment. There will be no formal presentation. Public meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, May 16, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Sandstone Senior Center
206 Main St., Sandstone, Minn.

Wednesday, May 17, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Duluth Depot
506 West Michigan St., Duluth, Minn.

Coon Rapids
Thursday, May 18, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Coon Rapids Civic Center
11155 Robinson Dr. Northwest, Coon Rapids, Minn.

* The public meeting in Duluth will also serve as a public hearing to meet requirements under Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter TRANS 400.11, Distribution and Review of Environmental Documents. The format and information provided at the Duluth meeting will be the same as the meetings in Sandstone and Coon Rapids.

In addition to the NLX project website, the Tier 2 Project Level EA can be viewed at:

  • MnDOT Library, MnDOT Transportation Building, 395 John Ireland Boulevard, St. Paul
  • Cambridge Public Library 244 South Birch Street, Cambridge
  • Coon Rapids Crooked Lake Branch Library, 11440 Crooked Lake Boulevard NW, Coon Rapids
  • Duluth Public Library, 520 W. Superior Street, Duluth
  • Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central, Environmental Conservation Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
  • Hinckley Public Library, 106 First Street SE, Hinckley
  • Sandstone Public Library, 119 N. Fourth Street, Sandstone
  • Superior Public Library, 1530 Tower Avenue, Superior, Wis.

The Tier 2 EA includes documentation on the preliminary Section 106 findings regarding historic properties. The Tier 2 EA document also includes information on the Section 4(f) impacts and the preliminary de minimis findings, i.e., that adverse impacts to parks and recreation facilities and recreational trails would not result from the proposed project.

Any comments received regarding this issue during the public comment period will be taken by the Federal Railroad Administration in making its final de minimis determination.
For more information, visit www.mndot.gov/nlx.

To request an ASL interpreter call 651-366-4720. To request other reasonable accommodations, call 651-366-4718; the Minnesota Relay Service toll-free at 1-800-627-3529 (TTY, Voice or ASCII) or 711, or email your request to ADArequest.dot@state.mn.us.