Howard Street Tunnel Project
The Howard Street Tunnel Project (Project) will improve clearance at the Howard Street Tunnel (HST) in Baltimore City and 22 other locations where obstructions exist along the CSX Transportation (CSX) Interstate 95 (I-95) rail corridor between Baltimore and Philadelphia. The Project will remove all obstructions that restrict passage of modern double-stack intermodal trains along the corridor. Additionally, the Project will require the relocation of an interlocking site to facilitate the track lowering proposed at the Woodland Avenue site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In addition to clearing the corridor for double-stack rail passage, the Project will build additional resiliency into CSX’s rail network, enhance productivity at the Port of Baltimore, and improve freight rail performance and capability in the mid-Atlantic corridor. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is administering grant funding for the Project under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant Program and is the lead Federal agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) / Maryland Port Administration (MPA) is the recipient of INFRA grant funding for the Project, and CSX is the rail owner and operator conducting engineering design and acting in coordination with MDOT/MPA and FRA.
The anticipated improvements, consisting of tunnel reconstruction, bridge replacement/modification, and track lowering, will be constructed primarily within the existing railroad right-of-way.
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact
FRA, in cooperation with MDOT/MPA, prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Section 4(f) Evaluation in accordance with NEPA 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.; Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended; Section 4(f) of the USDOT Act of 1966; Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations; and other applicable Federal statutes, rules, and regulations.
FRA signed the EA on February 26, 2021, and the public comment period ran from March 1 to April 13, 2021. On June 17, 2021, FRA signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The FONSI addressed public comments and included measures to minimize impacts that will be implemented with the Project.
The EA, FONSI, and additional information about the Project are also available on MDOT/MPA’s webpage.
FRA NEPA Contact:
Brandon Bratcher, Environmental Protection Specialist
Environment and Project Engineering Division
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
West Building, Mail Stop 20
Washington, DC 20590
The U.S. Permitting Dashboard is an online tool for Federal agencies, project sponsors, and interested members of the public to track the Federal government’s environmental review and authorization processes for large or complex infrastructure projects. The Dashboard is part of a government-wide effort to improve coordination, transparency, and accountability. A link to this project’s page on the Dashboard is below.