For those in Rochester who dream of high-speed rail to the Twin Cities (and Chicago), here's an interesting news release regarding the Northern Lights Express...surely you know what that is:
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.
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 here.
Tier 2 project level environmental documentation and preliminary engineering will proceed during the next two years.