The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) is proposing to construct a passenger rail equipment layover facility in Brunswick, Maine to support the operation and expansion of Amtrak Downeaster passenger rail service. The proposed facility would consist of a main building, adjoining crew building and connecting tracks at the site of the Brunswick freight rail yard located between Church Road and Stanwood Street. The proposed site is approximately 0.6 miles west of Brunswick Station, which is the eastern terminus of Amtrak Downeaster service. The layover facility is intended to accommodate the overnight storage of a maximum of three (3) Amtrak diesel locomotive-powered passenger train sets used for the Amtrak Downeaster service.
This Project is funded as part of a $38.4 million High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Grant (HSIPR) awarded to NNEPRA for improvements to the Downeaster passenger rail service. NNEPRA intends to construct the proposed passenger rail equipment layover facility using a combination of federal and state funds, including state multi-modal and bond funds and approximately $6 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program grant funds. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is the lead Federal agency for the environmental review in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, (NEPA). Environmental reviews were conducted in accordance with NEPA, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et. seq.; its implementing regulation, 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1500-1508; and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 Federal Register [FR] 28545 [May 26, 1999] and 78 FR 2713 [January 14, 2013]).
An Environmental Assessment (EA) identifying the potential effects on physical, biological and human resources that could occur as a result of the proposed action was prepared in September 2013 and circulated for comments. A public hearing was held on September 26, 2013. A total of 53 comment letters or emails were submitted to NNEPRA from 44 individuals throughout the comment period expressing opposition and support of the layover facility. On June 13, 2014, the FRA Administrator signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The FONSI addresses the public comments and includes measures to minimize impacts that NNEPRA will implement with the Project. The September 2013 EA and the June 2014 FONSI are available for review using the links below as well as on the NNEPRA website.