Oregon Passenger Rail publishes DEIS

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Oregon Passenger Rail reaches an important Milestone with publication of Draft Environmental Impact Statement


SALEM- For several years, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has studied ways to improve the frequency, convenience, speed and reliability of intercity passenger rail service between Eugene-Springfield to the south and the Portland urban area part of the federally designated Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor.

The project has reached an important milestone with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on October 19, 2018. The DEIS describes why the project is being proposed and the project alternatives. It examines the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of those alternatives. The two “build” alternatives were evaluated in the DEIS and both accommodate increased passenger rail service over the next 20 years.

• Alternative 1 follows the existing Amtrak Cascades passenger rail route with track, signal and communication improvements.

• Alternative 2 is primarily a new route between Springfield and Oregon City along Interstate 5, an existing freight rail line and Interstate 205. It would follow the existing rail route north of Oregon City.

• The No Build Alternative follows the existing Amtrak route but has no additional service or improvements.

Based on extensive public and agency outreach and analysis, ODOT and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have identified Alternative 1 as the Preferred Alternative.

ODOT is now accepting comments on the DEIS

ODOT is holding five public open houses to give community members an opportunity to review the findings and comment on the DEIS. The public is also invited to participate in an online open house between Nov. 28 and Dec. 18, 2018 at www.OregonPassengerRail.org.

• Portland: Nov. 28, 2018, 5-7 p.m., ODOT Region 1 Office, 123 NW Flanders St., Portland, OR 97209

• Oregon City: Nov. 29, 2018, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Pioneer Community Center, 615 Fifth St., Oregon City, OR 97045

• Albany: Dec. 4, 2018, 5-7 p.m., Linn-Benton Community College, Fireside Room, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW, Albany, OR 97321

• Salem: Dec. 5, 2018, 5-7 p.m., Pringle Hall, 606 Church St. SE, Salem, OR 97301

• Eugene: Dec. 6, 2018, 5-7 p.m., Main Public Library, 100 W 10th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401

Paper copies are also available for review at several locations throughout the corridor. Learn more: www.OregonPassengerRail.org.

The path to improved passenger rail

Following the public comment period, ODOT and FRA will select a Final Preferred Alternative and will document that decision in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD lays the groundwork for the possibility of expanding Oregon’s Passenger Rail Program, opening the path to future investments and expansion of service on the route. Improved service is forecast to facilitate a near-doubling of ridership by 2035 and would provide an efficient, safe, equitable and affordable travel alternative. ODOT and FRA anticipate publishing the Final EIS in 2019.

Summary of upcoming dates

• DEIS Notice of Availability: Oct. 19, 2018

• Public Comment Period: Oct. 19-Dec. 18, 2018

• Public Meetings in Portland, Oregon City, Salem, Albany and Eugene: Nov. 28-Dec. 6, 2018

• Online Open House: Nov. 28-Dec. 18, 2018

The meeting locations are ADA accessible. Information is available in alternative formats upon request. Accommodations will be provided to persons with disabilities. To request an accommodation to participate in meetings, please call Jennifer Sellers at (503) 480-5556 or statewide relay 7-1-1 at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

For more information visit www.OregonPassengerRail.org or contact Jennifer Sellers, ODOT Passenger Rail Program Manager at (503) 480-5556 or info@oregonpassengerrail.org.