What is the Process?
Planning for projects of this scope progress through several phases: Tier I EIS, Tier II EIS and final design and construction.
The Tier I Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) outlines a service plan, recommends a corridor along with other improvements and prescribes mitigations of potential impacts to the built and natural environment.
The first step is creating a purpose and need statement to guide the development of the Tier I EIS. Afterwards a draft of the EIS is written in order to evaluate potential routes and service alternatives for the corridor.
A draft Tier I EIS was released September 2014 and is expected to be finalized soon. Afterwards MDOT will create a Service Development Plan (SDP) which describes how the rail service will be implemented.
A Tier II EIS will be conducted for the South of the Lake track that runs from MIchigan CIty-Chicago because that section is more complicated.
The Tier II EIS will design the project in enough detail to gain environmental approvals and seek funding. Final design and construction occur as funding is secured.