The Preferred Alternative defines an NEC investment plan to grow the role of rail in the Northeast. It provides the capacity to dramatically increase the number of trains and improve the railroad’s performance. The Preferred Alternative focuses investment on the existing NEC, improving reliability by bringing it to a state of good repair and eliminating chokepoints that cause delays. It adds new track to grow the NEC to four tracks at most locations. Trains would operate frequently with improved connections, greatly enhancing travel options. Travel time would also improve. This vision reflects public preferences and is supported by the FRA’s analysis.
The FRA identified the Preferred Alternative based on the evaluation and findings presented in the Tier 1 Draft EIS, public and stakeholder comments, and FRA policy objectives consistent with U.S. Department of Transportation strategic goals. See the Alternatives Development page and Volume 1, Chapter 4 of the Tier 1 Final EIS for information on the alternatives development process.
As a baseline for comparison, consistent with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, the FRA defined and evaluated a No Action Alternative that included planned and programmed improvements to the NEC. For more details on the No Action Alternative, refer to the No Action Alternative Report.