To improve rail service and reliability on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and address a longstanding bottleneck, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the B&P Tunnel Project. The federally funded engineering and environmental study identifies a new tunnel to replace the existing B&P Tunnel. The estimated cost, which has not changed since the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), is $4.5 billion. The project is not currently funded for construction.
The 144-year-old, two-track B&P Tunnel is located between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Penn Station in Baltimore, Maryland. The tunnel is owned by Amtrak and also used by Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains and Norfolk Southern Railway freight trains.
The ROD documents FRA’s selection of the Preferred Alternative (Alternative 3B) and three ventilation facilities, one each at the North and South portals and the intermediate ventilation facility site at 900-940 West North Avenue.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in coordination with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Amtrak and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, released the B&P Tunnel Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on November 25, 2016. The federally-funded engineering and environmental study identifies the Preferred Alternative for a new tunnel alignment that would replace the existing B&P Tunnel.
The FEIS provides an evaluation of three build alternatives, their ability to meet the Purpose and Need of the Project, and their likely impacts to the social, cultural and natural environments. The FEIS also identifies the Preferred Alternative, including the location of the preferred Intermediate Ventilation Facility Site; responds to public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released in December 2015; and recommends potential mitigation measures to address the documented environmental impacts of the Preferred Alternative.
FRA must hold a waiting period of at least 30 days after the release of the B&P Tunnel FEIS. This waiting period, which ended on December 27, 2016, allowed time for the public to review the B&P Tunnel FEIS. FRA will accept and review feedback on the FEIS until publication of the Record of Decision, which is anticipated in Spring 2017. This is not a formal comment period and the FRA will not respond to individual comments as was required for the B&P Draft Environmental Impact Statement. To the extent practicable, FRA will consider feedback received in developing the Record of Decision.
Community Information Meetings were held on December 8, 2016 and December 10, 2016. CLICK HERE to view Meeting Materials.
Three fact sheets on Air Quality, Tunnel Ventilation, and Vibration were prepared in September 2016 to provide information on key issues related to the B&P Tunnel Project. The fact sheets are available here.
The Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel is a two-track railroad tunnel underneath central Baltimore City. The tunnel opened in 1873 and is located between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Pennsylvania Station along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor (NEC). This section of the NEC is used by Amtrak and Maryland's MARC Commuter Rail passenger trains, as well as Norfolk Southern Railway freight trains. The B&P Tunnel is owned by Amtrak and should not be confused with the Howard Street Tunnel, which is owned by CSX and used solely by CSX freight trains.
Working to improve rail service, reliability and address a longstanding bottleneck along Amtrak's busy Northeast Corridor (NEC), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Amtrak are advancing an engineering and environmental study to examine various improvements to the 141-year-old Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland. MDOT was awarded a grant from FRA to complete the study as part of the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program. As part of the study, FRA will lead development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in close coordination with MDOT, the public, and other stakeholders.
Explore the tabs at the top of page to learn more about the B&P Tunnel Project and how you can get involved.