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4/3/2017



Rail News: Amtrak

FRA issues decision on B&P Tunnel environmental review


The FRA has issued a record of decision on the B&P Tunnel project's environmental review.
Photo – Amtrak

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a record of decision (ROD) on the environmental review process for the proposed Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel project, Amtrak announced late last week.

The proposed $4.5 billion project would replace the 144-year-old, two-track B&P tunnel, which is located between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Penn Station in Baltimore, Maryland. The tunnel is owned by Amtrak and also used by Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains and Norfolk Southern Railway trains.

In its ROD, the FRA selected the preferred alternative 3B and three ventilation facilities, one each at the North and South portals and an intermediate ventilation facility site at 900-940 West North Avenue.

Alternative 3B will reduce travel time through the tunnel and along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) as a result of improved alignment geometry, according to the ROD.

"The selected alternative will better accommodate existing and projected travel demand for intercity and commuter passenger services, and will eliminate an impediment to existing and projected operations along the NEC," the ROD stated.

The FRA — working with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Amtrak and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation — released the final environmental impact statement in November 2016.

The project is not currently funded for construction.



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