NEC FUTURE is a comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate, and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor (NEC) from Washington, D.C., to Boston. The NEC is the rail transportation spine of the Northeast and a key component of the region’s transportation system. The NEC supports the operation of eight Regional rail authorities and Amtrak—the Intercity rail service provider—as well as four freight railroads.
The Federal Railroad Administration launched NEC FUTURE in 2012 to evaluate improvements to address passenger rail transportation needs within the multi-state Study Area. NEC FUTURE will result in a Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP) for the NEC that will establish a framework for future investment in the corridor through 2040 and beyond. The PRCIP comprises a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (Tier 1 EIS) and a Service Development Plan (SDP). Together, these documents will provide a long-term vision for the role of passenger rail on the NEC in the regional transportation system and a phased investment plan to accomplish that vision.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is a cooperating agency in the NEPA process.
FRA released the Tier 1 Draft EIS in November 2015, for a public comment period that ended in mid-February 2016. Using comments and information received from the public and stakeholders during the comment process, along with consideration of the findings of the Tier 1 Draft EIS analysis as well as DOT and FRA policy, the FRA developed a Preferred Alternative that outlines a vision and investment program to guide future passenger rail investment on the NEC.
The FRA presents the Preferred Alternative along with an analysis of its impacts and benefits, in the Tier 1 Final EIS, released in December 2016. The Tier 1 Final EIS also includes responses to comments received on the Tier 1Draft EIS. The Tier 1 Final EIS is available at the project website. The FRA is holding a waiting period after the release of the Tier 1 Final EIS; this waiting period ends on January 31, 2017. During this waiting period, FRA invites the public to review and provide feedback on the Preferred Alternative and the contents of the Tier 1 Final EIS.
The FRA will consider feedback on the Preferred Alternative and then identify an alternative, referred to as the Selected Alternative, in a Record of Decision (ROD). Subsequently, FRA will work with stakeholders to develop the SDP; the SDP will present a full benefit cost analysis of the Selected Alternative along with a roadmap for phased implementation of the Selected Alternative.
FRA provides full detail along with links to all project documents, including several Alternatives Development Reports, the Tier 1 Draft EIS, the Tier 1 Final EIS, and project newsletters, on the project website.