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The FRA initiated the NEC FUTURE program in February 2012. During 2012, key tasks included stakeholder and public outreach, data collection and analysis, a scoping process in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, and development of initial alternatives.

In 2013, principal activities included Preliminary Alternatives development, existing conditions analysis of the NEC FUTURE Study Area, and ongoing public outreach and agency coordination. In 2014, the Preliminary Alternatives were evaluated to determine a smaller set of alternatives for analysis in the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

In 2015, the FRA released the Tier 1 Draft EIS for public comment. The Tier 1 Final EIS was released in 2016. The FRA completed the NEPA process with the release of the Record of Decision (ROD) in July 2017. The ROD documents the Selected Alternative for NEC FUTURE. The next step is the completion of a Service Development Plan, which will describe the process for implementing the Selected Alternative.