FRA issues FONSI for NLX rail project

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor

The Northern Lights Express (NLX), a proposed intercity passenger service between Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn., may proceed to preliminary engineering after the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the Tier 1 Service Level Environmental Assessment.


FRA’s issuance of a FONSI on Aug. 21 means that the NLX Project will not have significant environmental impacts and, in addition to advancing preliminary engineering, the project can proceed with Tier 2 project level environmental documentation phase.

The Tier 1 EA examined the 155-mile project corridor for social, economic and environmental impacts. The proposed project includes constructing necessary infrastructure for a high-speed intercity passenger rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth, a portion of which travels through Douglas County in Wisconsin. Trains will reach speeds up to 110 miles per hour.

Under the state environmental review process, Minnesota Department of Transportation, serving as the responsible governmental unit, also has issued a Findings of Fact and Conclusion and a Negative Declaration, indicating that a state Environmental Impact Statement is not required. The state documents are available at

Tier 2 project level environmental documentation and preliminary engineering will proceed during the next two years.

Categories: Intercity, OFF Track Maintenance, Safety/Training