The Des Moines Area MPO has been planning for a new Des Moines Transload Facility, which will strengthen the connection between the region’s trucking and rail freight networks and lower shipping costs for businesses within a 150-mile radius of the capital city. In 2018, the Des Moines Transload Facility was awarded a $11.2 million Better Utilizing Infrastructure to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant.
Public Comment: Environmental Assessment
The Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), City of Des Moines, Greater Des Moines Partnership (GDMP), and Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT), in conjunction with Des Moines Industrial (DSMI), propose to construct a multi-modal transloading facility (Des Moines Area Transloading Facility or Project) to include trackage, docks, and warehousing within the Des Moines Metropolitan Area. The MPO selected DSMI as the developer of the Project. DSMI is also the owner and operator of the facility. The MPO will use U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) funds, administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), to construct this facility.
Therefore, FRA must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.) prior to authorizing DMAMPO to use DOT funds and commence construction of the Project. NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions on the natural, social, economic, and cultural environment and to disclose those considerations in a public document. The NEPA process helps public officials make decisions based on an understanding of the environmental consequences and take actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment (40 C.F.R. § 1500.1).
As required by NEPA, this Environmental Assessment (EA) provides FRA and the public with a full accounting of the environmental impacts of the alternatives developed to meet the Project’s purpose and need. This EA serves as the primary document to facilitate review of the Project by federal, state and local agencies, and the public. The EA process concludes with either a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or a determination to proceed in preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). FRA and the MPO are joint lead agencies in the preparation of this EA.
The FRA and MPO are seeking public comment on the EA for the Des Moines Transload Facility.
Environmental Assessment – Des Moines Transload Facility
Appendix A: Wetland Delineation Report and USACE Review
Appendix B: Threatened and Endangered Species Habitat Evaluation (including IPaC) and USFWS Review
Appendix C: Floodplain Map
Appendix D: EDR Radius Map Report and IDNR Letter
Appendix E: SHPO Consultation, Cultural Resources Desktop Assessment, Phase IA Cultural Resources Survey, and Historic Structures Report
Appendix F: Tribal Consultation Letters
Comments must be shared directly with the Federal Railroad Administration by visiting the link provided below or by searching regulations.gov for Docket Number FRA-2020-0048. The comment period is open through July 27, 2020.
Public Comment Link: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FRA-2020-0048
For more information and background on the project, please visit dmampo.org/transload-facility/.