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The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) last week released a draft environmental assessment (EA) and Section 4(f) determination for a project to expand the South Station intermodal terminal in Boston. The document summarizes the project's environmental benefits and impacts, and includes similar information as the final environmental impact report released in June 2016. That report was prepared in accordance with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. As part of the federal grant supporting the effort, the expansion also must undergo the federal environmental review process required by the National Environmental Policy Act. The expansion project is aimed at increasing capacity to meet current and anticipated commuter- and intercity-rail service needs, MassDOT officials said in a press release.The project calls for updating track infrastructure, along with building a new layover facility and expanding an existing one. The expansion includes acquiring and demolishing a nearby U.S. Postal Service facility.South Station has fewer than half the original number of tracks that were available when it opened in 1899. However, it continues to serve as the most heavily used passenger rail facility in New England, according to the most recent EA document.
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