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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Environmental statement filed for Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal

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The final waiting period has begun for the Final Environmental Impact Statement paperwork required for the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal in Detroit, Crain's Detroit Business reports. The terminal project, between Wyoming and Livernois avenues south of I-94, has a $445-million price tag in 2006 dollars (for the preferred alternative) and is designed to consolidate train and trucking infrastructure.

MDOT has reached a deal with CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railroad to jointly develop the project.

"The study has centered on stimulating economic revitalization in southeast Michigan by improving rail freight transportation opportunities and efficiencies at a consolidated terminal in southwest Detroit," MDOT said.

The completion of the final environmental impact requirements was announced by the Michigan Department of Transportation. There is now a 49-day waiting period for the Federal Highway Administration to issue a record of decision on the statement. After that, design, right-of-way acquisition and construction can begin, if funding is available.

"This is a significant accomplishment in that it represents the largest public/private venture in Michigan history, with the railroads agreeing to pay a large share of the costs," MDOT State Transportation Director Kirk Steudle said in a statement.

No public/private partnership legislation is needed to make the project happen, MDOT said. The agency did not break down costs or outline the public-private split. The state estimates the project will create almost 2,400 permanent jobs in Detroit and 300 construction jobs over a 10-year period.

CSXT and Norfolk Southern will expand intermodal rail operations at the site, and Norfolk Southern will move some operations there. Canadian National has decided not to shift (or expand) its Moterm Terminal operation near the state fairgrounds to the Livernois-Junction Yard.

The consolidated terminal will accommodate existing and future demands, while supporting the needs of residential neighborhoods and businesses in the area, MDOT said.

MDOT also said it's waiting for a funding decision from the U.S. Department of Transportation on a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant application for the DIFT project. That money would cover some of the paving costs.

The DIFT project officially began in 2001.

The impact statement can be viewed and commented up at Deadline for comments is Jan. 29.

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