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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 Tier 1 Draft EIS was prepared and released for public comment. The Tier 1 Final EIS was completed and released in 2016. The Selected Alternative will be documented in the Record of Decision that follows. A Service Development Plan, to be prepared in 2017, will describe the process for implementing the Selected Alternative.