The completion of the Wisconsin Rail Plan
2030 has been postponed until further notice. Future rail planning
efforts will include a comprehensive public involvement component.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) develops transportation plans in cooperation with the public, state and federal review agencies. WisDOT will offer a variety of statewide public involvement activities and options throughout the entire Wisconsin State Rail Plan 2030 planning process. Activities include consultation meetings, public hearings, newsletters, surveys and focus groups. Information provided at these meetings include a
general presentation(1.5 MB) and a primer that provides an
overview of Wisconsin's rail
In the absence of Federal Railroad Administration state rail plan development guidance, WisDOT followed the public participation requirements identified under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). In addition, the plan was developed pursuant to the requirements of section 135 of title 23, United States Code; and will consider the goals within other pertinent rail plans, including the national rail plan, if
it is available before the plan is complete. Information provided at these meetings includes a general presentation, hard copies of the draft plan for review, and a newsletter.
To help the department organize the current outreach effort, WisDOT developed a public participation plan:
Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030 Public Participation Plan
. The public participation plan describes the public involvement activities WisDOT used during the development of the long-range rail plan. The plan details the goals and purpose of the outreach process, as well as specifics such as type of events, locations, and the proposed development timeline. The plan also includes a defined consultation process with tribes, state and federal agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, and regional planning commissions to ensure that the plan is consistent with the recommendations defined in their respective plans. In addition, the public participation plan describes specific outreach activities to low income and minority populations, as well as people aged 65 years and older, and people with disabilities.
Plan development process
Previous transportation planning efforts helped to shape the development of the Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030. These include:
This report discusses various rail system components, such as the rail network, intercity passenger rail, safety, and legislative rail initiatives. It also summarizes critical freight and passenger rail transportation ranging from rail congestion and the movement of freight in Wisconsin, to safety, hazardous material
transport, and rail corridor preservation.
This plan establishes the state's multimodal transportation vision and identifies a series of policies and actions to achieve the vision. The long-range multimodal plan includes policies and actions related to freight rail, passenger rail and commuter rail. The policies and recommendations outlined in the plan were the result of an extensive outreach effort that included a telephone survey, meetings with stakeholders, targeted outreach, numerous public meetings and hearings statewide. From start to finish, over 80 meetings were held statewide.
Both planning efforts included extensive public outreach and resulted in a significant amount of feedback specific to rail issues and needs statewide.
Building on previous department efforts, development of the Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030 included a three-phase process to gather early input into the scope and proposed content of the draft plan.
Phase 1: Needs identification
Phase 2: Draft plan outreach
Phase 3: Final plan
Phase 1: Needs identification
Outreach during this phase focused on needs and issues identification. Emphasis was placed on sharing information regarding the plan, educating the public on the proposed rail plan scope, and obtaining feedback on the range of rail related issues and needs.
The internet-based questionnaire was designed to obtain public input on rail issues and needs specific to freight, passenger and commuter rail in Wisconsin through 2030. In addition, the questionnaire was helpful in determining the level of public support for future investment in the state's rail transportation network.
Environmental justice telephone survey
WisDOT conducted a telephone survey to collect comments from minority
populations (African American, Hispanic, and Asian), persons aged 65 years and older, and low income
residents statewide. The survey results supplement the
on-line questionnaire to provide WisDOT with a better understanding of the needs and issues of the state's residents relative to freight, intercity passenger rail and commuter rail.
WisDOT hosted a one day workshop on May 26, 2010 with participants
respresenting a range of stakeholder interests from community members, rail operators and businesses. The purpose of the workshop was to educate participants regarding the development of the Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030 and to ask for their feedback on specific issues and needs regarding rail in Wisconsin. A summary of the workshop is available:
Appendix 2-E: Stakeholder Workshop
Wisconsin transportation planning is a partnership between the department, the 14
Metropolitan Planning Organizations and the eight
Regional Planning Commissions. WisDOT works with these entities to ensure that statewide long range planning is consistent with urban and regional planning initiatives. Early outreach for the rail plan included briefings as part of the regularly scheduled quarterly meetings with the metropolitan planning organization and regional planning commission planning staff. In addition, updates and presentations to their committees and boards were made as requested.
Railroad carrier/Port operator outreach
As part of the early scoping efforts of the rail plan
development, the department conducted outreach with rail freight
carriers and ports operating in the state. The outreach was focused on understanding the scope of the respective operation and identifying potential issues and needs. The result
of that outreach is summarized in
Appendix 2-F: Summary of Outreach with Freight Rail Carriers and Port Operators in
As part of the needs identification effort, WisDOT consulted with
environmental resource agencies and tribal governments to inform
them about the rail plan development and to get feedback on issues
Department staff conducted outreach with the state's tribal governments to make them aware of the rail planning effort, as well as gather
feedback on specific rail issues and needs. Outreach included a presentation at the Tribal Transportation Conference held March, 2010 in Baraboo, Wisconsin. In addition, a formal consultation meeting was held May 2010 in Keshena, Wisconsin, as part of the regularly scheduled Tribal Task Force meeting. Updates were also provided at subsequent Tribal Task Force meetings. A summary of the consultation meeting is available
in Appendix 2-C: Tribal Consultation Summary .
Environmental resource agency consultation
Department staff also consulted with environmental resource agency staff to identify issues and needs, as well as potential mitigation strategies that may be used if rail related impacts occur. A summary of the consultation effort is available
in Appendix 2-D: Environmental Agency Consultation Summary .
Phase 2: Draft plan review
After the release of the draft Wisconsin Rail Plan
2030, WisDOT began a
45-day public comment period. During this time WisDOT held a public hearing and focused meetings with minority
and low income populations statewide. When the comment period closes, the comments will be analyzed and the plan updated, as appropriate.
The department will finalize the Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030 and take steps to formally adopt the plan. A final summary document will also be produced communicating the process and results of the outreach efforts, as well as key components addressed in the plan.
For more information on the Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030 planning process contact:
WisDOT Bureau of Planning and
P.O. Box 7913, Room 901
Madison, WI 53707-7913