Federal Railroad Administration June 29, 2006 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents
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Environmental Impact Statement: Relocation or Reconstruction of Rail Lines in Tupelo, MS
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is issuing this notice to advise the public that FRA will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the relocation or reconstruction of railroad lines in the Tupelo, Mississippi central business district. The study area is defined to extend from the vicinity of Plantersville, MS, southeast of Tupelo, to the vicinity of Sherman, northwest of Tupelo. Tupelo is the primary business center of northeast Mississippi. Currently, within the central business district there are more than 25 at-grade rail crossings on two railroad lines. One of the rail lines is owned by the BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) and the other by the Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCS). The two rail lines cross at an interchange near downtown Tupelo. There are between twenty and twenty- five trains per day on the BNSF line, and three or four per day on the KCS line. There are few rail customers remaining in the central business district, and most of the trains are through trains operating in the Birmingham, Alabama to Memphis, Tennessee corridor. Traffic congestion is already a significant problem in the central business district, and the current rail line configuration is a contributing cause to this congestion. The switchyard between the two lines is within the central business district, and the BNSF line runs diagonally through the highest volume intersection in the city. Tupelo's employment has been growing at a steady pace of about 1,000 jobs per year for the last few years, which only increases vehicular traffic to the area and further exacerbates the situation. Moreover, issues with access to emergency facilities exist in that many Tupelo residents may be cut off from the regional medical center due to delays caused by the rail line and switching station. The FRA has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), with FRA as the lead Federal agency and MDOT as the lead state agency. Funding for the EIS was provided through an appropriation in the Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004, Public Law 108-199 (January 23, 2004).