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Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT)- Environmental Impact Study

MDOT Railcars

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) completed the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal Feasibility Study in December 2001. The conclusion of the feasibility study was to advance the planning for such a terminal by preparing an environmental impact study. This involves studying the project's potential social, economic and environmental effects.

The goal of the present planning effort is to develop a regional intermodal facility* with sufficient capacity to provide for existing and future demand, at the same time supporting the residential neighborhoods and businesses of Southwest Detroit/East Dearborn, consistent with a number of terminal development and community development objectives.

The Detroit area now has a number of intermodal facilities that link railroad and truck freight services. Substantial numbers of truck trailers travel on rail and there is an industry trend toward expanded use of cargo containers that travel by rail and are then distributed by truck.

The public will have many opportunities to provide input, throughout the project's 23-month schedule. Regular meetings will be held with local stakeholders (Steering Committee) and other interested groups and individuals. Their input will be sought throughout the evaluation process, including during the analysis of social, economic, and environmental impacts associated with alternatives to be studied. Public meetings will be advertised in local media sources and on this Web site as well as in the media.

*NOTE: Since the inception of the environmental study, the scope of the study in addition to the no-action option has broadened to consider a multiple site alternative.

Alternative 1 is "No Action." No action does not mean intermodal activity will be leaving Southwest Detroit. The railroad companies have determined there is a market to continue and expand the intermodal operations in the area. With no government funding or oversight, the development of the market and the expansion of rail terminals will occur as the railroads see fit. This alternative should be considered a "business as usual" approach to intermodal operations in the Southeast Michigan.

Alternative 2 is "Improve/Develop" and Alternative 3 is "Consolidate." Because Alternatives 2 and 3 involve funding and oversight from the state and federal governments, the development of the intermodal market and expansion of the rail terminals will be closely scrutinized. The scrutiny, by many agencies at both levels of government, will be undertaken to ensure that no actions will unduly affect an area around the terminals.

Description of Study Area: The Study Area is bounded by M-39 on the west, I-94 on the north, 14th Street on the east, and the Detroit River on the south.