The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is implementing a program of infrastructure improvement projects along the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (PNWRC) also known as the PNWRC Improvement Program. The PNWRC Improvement Program is made up of approximately 17 component projects. To fund these projects, WSDOT applied and was selected for grant funding through the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program.
One such component project is the Point Defiance Bypass Project. The Project consists of railroad track and support facility improvements to facilitate the rerouting of Amtrak’s intercity passenger rail to the Point Defiance Bypass route, and the relocation of Amtrak’s Tacoma Station. As part of the PNWRC Improvement Program, when combined with the other component projects, this Project would allow for two additional round trips of the Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon with improved reliability and reduced travel time. This Project would also support Amtrak’s longer-distance Pacific Northwest passenger rail service, the Coast Starlight.
FRA and WSDOT prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze and document whether the Project would have significant effects on the environment. This Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is made based on the information in the EA and has been prepared by FRA and WSDOT to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C § 4321) (NEPA), FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 Fed. Reg. 28545, May 6, 1999), and other related laws. WSDOT will use FRA’s decision documentation and other supporting documentation to satisfy the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) (WAC 197-11). The EA and FONSI are also available at WSDOT’s Project website.