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Chicago - Detroit/Pontiac Passenger Rail Corridor Program

Environmental Impact Statement

The Michigan Department of Transportation has begun evaluating passenger rail improvements to improve mobility along a 304-mile rail corridor between Chicago, Illinois and Detroit/Pontiac, Michigan and provide a competitive alternative to automobile, bus and air service. The Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac Rail Corridor Program (Program) is being prepared in partnership with the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation, in association with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and will provide sufficient information for the FRA to potentially support future decisions to fund and implement a major investment in the passenger rail corridor..

A tiered environmental process, commonly used in the development of complex projects, is being utilized for the Program. With a tiered approach, the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluates impacts of a broad-scale project with focus on more qualitative than quantitative impacts on specific resources, in accordance with 40 CFR 1508.28. The EIS will evaluate the effects of upgrading rail infrastructure and facilities to safely accommodate potential passenger rail service improvements. Effects on the natural environment, jobs, the economy, air quality, traffic, and neighborhoods will be considered.

Following completion of the Tier 1 NEPA document and the associated decision document, Tier 2 NEPA documents are developed to quantitatively evaluate the environmental impacts within one or more specific logical sections or phases of the Program, which would be developed through separate but related projects.

Documents available for download:

Notice of Intent (published August 31, 2012)


Now Available For Public Comment through December 19, 2014 and download below.

FRA in coordination with the Michigan, Indiana and Illinois departments of transportation (DOT) has prepared a Tier 1 Draft EIS to evaluate passenger rail improvements for the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac Corridor.

The Tier 1 Draft EIS presents the Program’s purpose and need, identifies reasonable route alternatives, describes the affected environment, and analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the alternatives considered, including the no-build alternative.  The Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register on September 19, 2014 at

Hard copies and/or CDs of the Tier 1 Draft EIS will be available for review by September 26, 2014 at the following review sites:


Public hearings will be held in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana during October 2014 to encourage public feedback on the Tier 1 Draft EIS. Copies of the document, exhibits and other reference materials will be on display. Program staff will be available to answer questions and a presentation will be made. Participants will have opportunities to provide written and oral comments.

To view the public hearing announcement or at

All meetings will be open to the public between 4 and 7 p.m.:

  • 4:00 p.m. Informational session begins
  • 5:30 p.m. Presentation starts
  • 6:00 p.m. Public testimony begins


A public comment period is underway to collect feedback on the Tier 1 Draft EIS. All comments must be submitted by December 19, 2014, for the public record.

Comments may be submitted as follows:


With an advance notice of 7 days, the Michigan DOT can make accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or limited English-speaking ability, and persons needing auxiliary aids or services of interpreters, signers, readers, or large print. For accommodations, call the program’s toll free number at 877-351-0853.


Please click on the links below to download and view an electronic copy of the Tier 1 Draft EIS. Options for downloading the document in its entirety or by individual section are available below.  Downloading of the PDF may take several minutes.

Complete Tier 1 DRAFT Environmental Impact Statement
Executive Summary and Table of Contents
Signature Page
Chapter 1 Purpose and Need
Chapter 2 Alternatives Considered
Chapter 3 Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences
Chapter 4 Public Involvement and Agency Coordination
Chapter 5 Next Steps
Chapter 6 List of Preparers
Chapter 7 References
Chapter 8 Distribution of the Tier 1 Draft EIS

Complete Appendices
Appendix A Level 1 Alternatives Screening Summaries
Appendix B No Build List
Appendix C Preliminary Full Build-Out Train Schedule
Appendix D Mapbook Part 1 of 4
Appendix D Mapbook Part 2 of 4
Appendix D Mapbook Part 3 of 4
Appendix D Mapbook Part 4 of 4
Appendix E Ridership and Revenue Forecasts and Operating and Maintenance Costs
Appendix F Demographic Information
Appendix G Emissions Calculations and Fuel
Appendix H Hazardous Materials Reports
Appendix I Water Resources Data
Appendix J Threatened and Endangered Species List
Appendix K Public Meeting Summaries

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