A TIGER III grant in the amount of $9,998,910 was awarded to the City of Shelby, Montana in FY 2011 by the US Department of Transportation to fund Phase 4 of the Port of Northern Montana Multimodal Hub Center (Project). Phase 4 is the final stage of development to complete the inland port facility capable of shipping large cargo and containerized freight via railway. Currently, Montana does not have the ability to ship or receive containerized cargo via rail due to a lack of an inland port. Without the Project, shippers would continue to rely on roadway transportation to ship goods and existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) operations along the mainline, resulting in high freight costs, as well as continued delays to the Amtrak Empire Builder long-distance passenger rail service.
Once complete, the Multimodal Hub Center will be a fully functional inland port capable of accepting and delivering unit trains, containerized cargo, and large industrial equipment and materials and will be instrumental in supporting regional economic growth. The facility will include rail spurs, access roads, street upgrades, utilities, wastewater and stormwater facilities, laydown area, and a bulk material facility.
FRA finds that the Project, as presented and assessed in the Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared by the City of Shelby and the Port of Northern Montana, satisfies the requirements of FRA's Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts; and FRA has determined that this Project will have no foreseeable significant impact on the quality of the human environment. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) approved by the FRA on May 21, 2013 is based on the EA, which was independently evaluated by FRA and determined to adequately and accurately discuss the need, environmental issues, impacts of the proposed Project and appropriate mitigation measures. The EA provides sufficient evidence and analysis for determining that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required, and outlines future mitigation commitments of the Project sponsor.