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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for replacing Amtrak's Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) rail tunnel in Baltimore, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced yesterday.The FEIS identifies the preferred out of three proposed alternatives for a new alignment to replace the 143-year-old, two-track, 1.4-mile tunnel, which is owned by Amtrak and also used by Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) and Norfolk Southern Railway trains.Replacing the tunnel — located between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Penn Station along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor — will cost about $4 billion, according to the FRA.Replacing the tunnel will help increase capacity, improve safety and allow for faster trains to reduce trip times.The preferred alternative also includes the intended location of an intermediate ventilation facility site on West North Avenue; responds to public comments on the draft environmental impact statement released a year ago; and recommends potential mitigation measures to address the documented environmental impacts of the preferred alternative, according to press release issued by Amtrak and the MDOT.Community hearings on the FEIS will be held Dec. 8 and 10 in Baltimore. A record of decision for the project is expected in spring 2017.
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