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The Oregon Passenger Rail Leadership Council recently recommended to the Federal Railroad Administration the routes that should receive more detailed study as part of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement evaluation for improved passenger-rail service in the Eugene-Springfield and Portland-Vancouver areas.The study encompasses areas that are part of the federally designated Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor. Under the council’s direction, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is leading the environmental review process that will conclude with selection of a preferred passenger-rail route, identification of general station locations and on-time performance goals, ODOT officials said in a press release.The recommended alternatives involve two primary routes: The first is the existing alignment on a Union Pacific Railroad line, which would require "major" infrastructure investment, ODOT officials said. The second is a new alignment consisting of Interstate 5 from Eugene-Springfield to Keizer, the Oregon Electric rail line from Keizer to Wilsonville, and I-5 and 205 between Wilsonville and Oregon City, where it would merge with the existing alignment.In early 2013, the project team developed preliminary alternatives. In November 2013, officials received feedback from citizens during a series of open houses. A summary of those comments was presented to the Leadership Council at its meeting on Dec. 17, when it recommended the two alternatives for further study.
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