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Final Environmental Impact Statement completed for Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT) projectContact: Bill Shreck, MDOT Director of Communications, 517-335-3084 Agency: Transportation
December 14, 2009 -- The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a study regarding the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT) has been completed by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The study has centered on stimulating economic revitalization in southeast Michigan by improving rail freight transportation opportunities and efficiencies at a consolidated terminal in southwest Detroit. The terminal is located in southwest Detroit between Wyoming and Livernois avenues south of I-94.
The Preferred Alternative identified in the FEIS is a modification of Alternative 4 analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The alternative calls for CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS) intermodal rail operations to expand at the Livernois-Junction Yard and for NS's Triple Crown operation to move to the yard. Canadian National has elected not to shift its Moterm Terminal operation located near the state fairgrounds to the Livernois-Junction Yard, nor will it expand the Moterm Terminal as part of the DIFT. The Canadian Pacific "Expressway" intermodal operation analyzed in the DEIS was discontinued in June 2004 and is no longer part of the project. Details about the project are available on the "Studies" section of the MDOT Web site at: www.michigan.gov/mdotstudies.
According to the study, the project will provide an average of 300 construction jobs over a 10-year period with over 600 construction jobs during the peak construction year. It also will create almost 2,400 permanent jobs in Detroit and an additional 2,100 jobs throughout Michigan.
A key feature of the FEIS is the agreement reached among MDOT and all four Class I railroads operating in Michigan - CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific, and Canadian National Railroad - to jointly develop the project. The consolidated terminal will accommodate existing and future demands, while supporting the needs of residential neighborhoods and businesses in the area.
"This is a significant accomplishment in that it represents the largest public/private venture in Michigan history, with the railroads agreeing to pay a large share of the costs," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. He added that no public/private partnership legislation is needed to make the project happen.
The next steps are for the FEIS to be distributed for a 49-day waiting period before the FHWA issues a Record of Decision. These steps will complete the environmental clearance process needed for the next phases - design, right of way acquisition and construction - to begin, as funding allows.
MDOT is awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) on an application the department submitted for a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to pave portions of the Livernois-Junction Yard in partnership with the participating railroads. The paving will greatly reduce dust and dirt that is generated from the unpaved portions of the rail yard. If funded, the TIGER grant request would advance both the community enhancements identified in the study as well as the greenway project along Vernor Avenue from Woodmere to Dix through the core of the southwest Detroit business district. MDOT also is awaiting word on a High Speed Rail grant request submitted to US DOT that would support Amtrak and commuter rail, as well as freight rail, if funded. This grant would make track improvements associated with the DIFT outside the Livernois-Junction Yard.
"The result of this outstanding cooperation provides for cost-sharing between government and the railroads and continues community involvement into the next phases of the project's development," said project manager Terry Stepanski. "This project will offer job training to facilitate local participation and a number of infrastructure improvements that will benefit nearby neighborhoods in southwest Detroit. Meeting community development objectives has always been very important, as well as ensuring this region's economic competitiveness."
Stepanski adds that while the Detroit area currently has a number of intermodal facilities that link railroad and truck freight services, the current facilities lack the capacity to ensure future economic growth.
According to the FEIS, the consolidated terminal will provide the necessary infrastructure to support current and future distribution needs of auto manufacturing, the state's largest industry, and other southeast Michigan businesses, while supporting the needs of residential neighborhoods and businesses in the area.
The FEIS will be available to the public at the following locations:
- Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile, Ferndale
- Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
- Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit
- Bowen Branch of the Detroit Public Library, 3648 W. Vernor, Detroit
- MDOT Detroit Transportation Service Center, 1400 Howard St., Detroit
- MDOT Oakland Transportation Service Center, 2300 Dixie Highway., Waterford
- MDOT Region Office, 18101 W. Nine Mile Road., Southfield
- MDOT Bureau of Transportation Planning, 425 Ottawa St., Lansing
Beginning Dec. 11, the document also may be viewed and commented online at www.michigan.gov/mdotstudies.
Comments must be received on or before Jan. 29, 2010. Substantive comments will be responded to in the Record of Decision. Written comments and requests for printed and electronic copies of the FEIS may be submitted by mail, fax or e-mail to: Robert H. Parsons, Public Involvement and Hearings Officer, Bureau of Transportation Planning, Michigan Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 30050, Lansing, MI 48909; fax: 517-373-9255; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, MDOT can make an executive summary of the document available in alternative formats such as large print or audiotape and can make accommodations for translations in Spanish or Arabic. Please call 517-373-9534 to request accommodations.
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