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8/17/2006



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA seeks public comments on environmental findings before ruling on DM&E's RRIF loan



The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is a step closer to issuing a decision on the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp.’s (DM&E) $2.5 billion federal loan application that would help fund the road’s proposed Powder River Basin (PRB) project. However, a few steps remain before the administration blesses or nixes the largest-ever Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan.

Today, the FRA announced it will adopt the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) final environmental impact statements on the project. The DM&E proposes to build a 262.3-mile line through western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, and upgrade 600 miles of other lines in South Dakota and Minnesota to access the PRB.

The FRA also released its own draft findings, as required under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s environmental review process, that address issues not fully covered in the STB’s environmental review.

The administration will accept public comments on the STB’s and FRA’s environmental findings until Oct. 10.

The administration considers the RRIF loan application to be incomplete until FRA officials review all submitted public comments and FRA Administrator Joseph Boardman signs a record of decision. The FRA then has 90 days to approve or deny the DM&E’s application.


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