At its December 17 meeting, the Oregon Passenger Rail Leadership Council made a recommendation to the Federal Railroad Administration on which rail route alternatives should receive more detailed study in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The study area encompasses the Eugene-Springfield urban area and the Portland-Vancouver urban area and is part of the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor. Under the direction of the leadership council, the Oregon Department of Transportation is leading an environmental review process that will conclude with the selection of a preferred passenger rail route, identification of general station locations, and on-time performance goals.
The needs and concerns of Oregon citizens are key drivers of the study. In early 2013, the project team developed a set of preliminary alternatives after extensive stakeholder engagement and development of conceptual solutions. In November, a series of open houses was held along the rail corridor to collect additional feedback from interested citizens.
Among the council’s recommendations are two primary routes. The first is the existing alignment (blue) on the Union Pacific line, which assumes major infrastructure investment. The second is a new alignment consisting of the Interstate 5 (formerly red, now orange) from Eugene-Springfield to Keizer, the Oregon Electric rail line (formerly purple, now orange) from Keizer to Wilsonville and Interstate 5 and 205 (formerly red, now orange) between Wilsonville and Oregon City where it would merge with the existing alignment (blue). The two options provide an opportunity to mix and match and the ability to examine design options.