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Oregon Passenger Rail EIS project
Project Information
The Oregon Department of Transportation is conducting the Oregon Passenger Rail Environmental Impacts Statement Project as the next step in improving passenger rail service in the Oregon segment of the federally designated Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor between Eugene and Portland.
 
The project will develop a Corridor Investment Plan that has two components: a Tier 1 EIS which will select a preferred alternative for future improvements and a Service Development Plan which will describe in detail how the preferred alternative will be implemented. The Federal Railroad Administration requires a CIP to be eligible to apply for future federal funding for design and construction of improvements.
 
The project will consider alternatives for improving intercity passenger rail service in the Willamette Valley. Major decisions that will be made include the corridor in which improvements will be made; the locations of stops; the energy used to power the trains (electric or diesel-electric); and service characteristics like the number of daily trips, on-time performance and travel time objectives.

Project Decision Structure
Governor Kitzhaber established the Oregon Passenger Rail Leadership Council to guide the project and develop consensus based recommendations that will be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration for final approval. The Leadership Council will fill the role of the “core group” identified during the stakeholder interviews. 
 
In addition to the Leadership Council, ODOT will establish other groups. The Corridor Forum will be composed of all the communities in the corridor, other key agencies and major statewide interests. This group will deliberate and serve as a sounding board for the Leadership Council.  This will ensure that each potentially affected community will have direct access to those developing Oregon’s recommendations to FRA, while engaging a range of statewide and regional interests. Segment Advisory Committees will be established along the corridor to consider local issues and provide input to the Corridor Forum and Leadership Council. In addition, an Industry forum for railroad owners and operators and a technical advisory team will also be established.
 
Once the NEPA process begins, there will be many opportunities for all stakeholders to participate and provide input.
 
Leadership Council members and meetings

Funding and Schedule
Funding for the EIS will be a combination of state and federal funds.  The project was selected for funding by FRA as part of the 2010 appropriation. ODOT staff is working with FRA to develop the cooperative agreement which must be completed before the federal funds can be release. The cooperative agreement is expected to be completed by the end of 2011. In the mean time, the Governor has directed ODOT to jumpstart the project using state funds. State funds will be used to support the initial Leadership Council meetings and continue project planning.

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