The Washington State Department of Transportation will hold an open house today to hear residents’ concerns and ideas about a proposal to reroute passenger trains through South Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont.
The event runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tillicum Community Center, 14916 Washington Ave. S.W., Lakewood.
The information collected at this event and others in the region will assist WSDOT in identifying impacts from the project and ways to address them as it continues an environmental assessment of the proposal.
The Federal Railroad Administration must review and issue a finding of no significant impact before releasing $91.6 million for the project. Otherwise, it will require the state to complete an environmental impact statement, a more costly and time-consuming endeavor.
The assessment is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2012, with the federal agency issuing a finding the following year.
If it finds the project has no significant impact, construction could be completed in 2015.
The project, known as the Point Defiance Bypass, would reroute passenger trains to a little-used line that runs on the west side of Interstate 5 through South Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont.
WSDOT says the proposal would offer more frequent and reliable Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service between Seattle and Portland and free up the congested freight rail line. Sound Transit will run an extension of its Sounder commuter rail on a portion of the route.
Residents who can’t attend the meeting are encouraged to provide comments and questions to David Smelser, project delivery manager, at 360-705-6916 or smelsed@ wsdot.wa.gov.
More information is available at the project website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/ rail/pnwrc_ptdefiance.
Christian Hill: 253-274-7390 firstname.lastname@example.org