CHICAGO - FORT WAYNE - COLUMBUS PASSENGER RAIL CORRIDOR
The current study phase is undertaking early planning activities that include identifying the Project purpose and need, conducting a route and service level alternatives analysis, and completing conceptual engineering to understand Project infrastructure requirements and preliminary cost estimates. The Project will also evaluate service alternatives to determine operating characteristics for the service including the number of round trips and the maximum train speeds. Decisions from these early planning activities will position the Project to complete an environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a potential future federally funded action.

 

Introduction to Public Outreach for Pre-NEPA Work
The City of Fort Wayne and Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association (NIPRA), in cooperation with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), is proposing to restore intercity passenger rail service along nearly 130 miles of CSX freight rail line running across northern Indiana, serving major population centers including Fort Wayne, with service continuing into Lima, Ohio. The project study corridor traverses from east to west through two counties in Ohio, Allen and Van Wert and through eight (8) Indiana counties, also from east to west, Allen, Whitley, Kosciusko, Marshall, Starke, La Porte, Porter and Lake. This pre-NEPA work will focus on alternative analysis and service development.

 

Federal law requires the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for surface transportation projects that require approval by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The Chicago–Fort Wayne Passenger Rail Corridor study is conducting pre-NEPA Alternatives Analysis to determine the best alternative to meet future transportation needs across northern Indiana and on into Ohio. The FRA has allowed the corridor partners to conduct this pre-NEPA analysis work in order to clarify whether a proposed passenger rail corridor is necessary to meet travel demand and, if needed, which route has the most potential for success. 

This Alternatives Analysis will assist in the decision-making process as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 United States Code [U.S.C.] 4321 et seq.), Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Regulations for implementing the provisions of NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 1500 through 1508), and FRA's policies and procedures.

Public Involvement Plan
Federal law requires the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for surface transportation projects that require approval by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The Chicago-Fort Wayne Passenger Rail Corridor study is conducting pre-NEPA Alternatives Analysis to determine the best alternative to meet future transportation needs across northern Indiana and on into Ohio. To ensure transparency throughout the entire process a public involvement plan is being developed for this preliminary work as well. Click here for the full document.

Purpose and Need
The Draft Purpose and Need Report introduces the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Corridor Project (Project) and provides a description of the proposed Project, prior studies, and the purpose and need for the Project. Click here for the full document.

Route Alternatives Analysis
The Draft Route Alternatives Screening Report describes the route alternatives and screening analysis used to identify the reasonable route alternative(s) for future passenger rail service between Chicago and Fort Wayne, IN with an extension of service to Lima, OH (the Project). The identified reasonable route alternative(s) will be proposed for additional evaluation in a future environmental study that satisfies the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) by assessing the impacts of the project that may potentially affect the environment. Studying the environmental impacts of passenger rail service between Chicago and Fort Wayne/Lima will enable the project sponsors to pursue federal funding for the construction of the project if the study approves the implementation of the service in a federal decision document. 

NEPA regulations also require the inclusion of an “alternative of no-action” along with the evaluation of all reasonable alternatives. The no-action alternative is not included in this screening analysis as it is required to be evaluated in any future environmental study that is intended to satisfy NEPA. Future NEPA analysis will indicate if the no-action alternative satisfies the project’s purpose and need of establishing direct and reliable passenger rail service to the communities who have invested in the planning of the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Corridor. The no-action alternative will also provide a baseline for evaluating the environmental impacts of the proposed reasonable alternative(s). Click here for the full document. Click here for the full document.