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The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration have released an environmental assessment for the Northern Lights Express (NLX) higher-speed passenger-rail project.The NLX would run on 152 miles of existing BNSF Railway Co. track between Minneapolis and Duluth. Trains would make four daily round trips at speeds up to 90 mph.The assessment addresses specific project-related issues and likely environmental effects associated with proposed track infrastructure, stations and layover and maintenance facilities. The assessment also includes measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate those impacts.The "Tier II" assessment builds on a previous assessment prepared in 2013 and will enable MnDOT to advance the project into further design and development, according to a press release from the department.The latest assessment was developed in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation since the line could include a stop in Superior, Wis.MnDOT is holding three public meetings next month to provide local residents with more information on the assessment.
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