The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Amtrak and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the B&P Tunnel Project on December 18.
The DEIS presents the project’s purpose and need, analysis of the alternatives retained for further study and an assessment of environmental considerations of these alternatives. Of the 16 original alternatives identified during project scoping, one no-build alternative (Alternative 1) and one build alternative with three options (Alternative 3: Options A, B and C) remain for additional engineering development and environmental evaluation presented in the DEIS.
The federally-funded, $60-million B&P Tunnel Project study began in May 2014. It includes development and evaluation of various alternatives based on the need to enhance rail safety and to improve capacity, reliability and travel time for commuter, freight and intercity passenger rail service on the Northeast Corridor. The 142-year-old, two-track tunnel is located between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Penn Station in Baltimore, Md. It is used by Amtrak, Maryland’s MARC Commuter Rail trains and Norfolk Southern freight trains.
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Between December 18, 2015, and February 5, 2016, copies of the DEIS and accompanying Technical Reports will be available for public review.
The DEIS has been prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Based on comments on the DEIS, the project team will write the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The FEIS is anticipated next fall and the Record of Decision is expected in spring 2017. The project is not currently funded for construction.