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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Program: Oregon Segment

On April 14, 2021, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), working with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT or Project Sponsor), issued a Record of Decision (ROD) concurrently with a Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a Corridor Investment Plan (CIP) pursuant to Section 1311 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (Pub. L. 114-94). Through the Oregon Passenger Rail (OPR) Tier 1 FEIS and ROD, FRA evaluated proposed alternatives for improved Amtrak Cascades intercity passenger rail service along the approximately 130-mile segment of the federally designated Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (PNWRC) from the Eugene-Springfield urban area to the Washington State line at the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon (Project). The 466-mile PNWRC runs between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Eugene-Springfield, Oregon.

During early Project formulation, which began in 2012 under a $4.2 million High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program competitive grant from FRA, FRA and ODOT chose to perform a tiered environmental review process in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that is typically used in the development of complex projects like CIPs. The tiered NEPA decision-making process includes a broad-level programmatic decision with a first-tier (Tier 1) EIS, which may be followed by more specific decisions through one or more second-tier (Tier 2) evaluations in the future. This environmental review process helped ODOT and FRA make decisions about the general rail alignment and station locations, and determine service characteristics, such as the number of daily trips, travel-time objectives, and technologies that will be used. 

See the Project Sponsor’s webpage for more information.

Comments

The 60-day comment period for the Tier 1 Draft EIS ran from October 19 to December 18, 2018. Comments received were addressed in FRA’s Tier 1 FEIS, appendices, and ROD.  Under 23 U.S.C. 139(n)(2), no subsequent comment or review periods under NEPA apply to this action; FRA issued a decision in a combined FEIS and ROD on April 14, 2021. 

Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision

The Notice of Availability (NOA) for the OPR CIP Tier 1 FEIS and ROD, wherein FRA selected Alternative 1, was published by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register on April 30, 2021. The ROD summarizes avoidance, minimization, and mitigation strategies and future design practices appropriate for a Tier 1 FEIS, and states potential next steps in the environmental review process with subsequent phases of the Project as it moves though further planning, design, and construction, subject to available future funding. Members of the public; stakeholders; local governments; elected officials; non-governmental organizations; Native American Tribes; and Federal, State, and local agencies have been and will continue to be involved in the Project throughout subsequent phases, as appropriate.

FRA Point of Contact

Environmental Review Process Contact:
Lydia Kachadoorian 
Environmental Protection Specialist
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
lydia.kachadoorian@dot.gov                               

Media Queries Contact:
Phone: 202-493-6024
Email: FRAPA@dot.gov 

Permitting Dashboard

The U.S. Permitting Dashboard is an online tool for Federal agencies, project sponsors, and interested members of the public to track the Federal government’s environmental review and authorization processes for large or complex infrastructure projects. The Dashboard is part of a government-wide effort to improve coordination, transparency, and accountability. A link to this project’s page on the Dashboard is below.

Last updated: Monday, May 3, 2021