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Scoping Summary Appendix

NEC Future - Scoping Summary Cover
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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Railroad Administration

December 2012

View the Scoping Summary Appendix as a PDF

Appendix

Notice of Intent and Notice of Intent to Extend the Formal Comment Period

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 121 (Friday, June 22, 2012)]

[Notices]

[Pages 37737-37738]

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[FR Doc No: 2012-15241]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration

Environmental Impact Statement for the Northeast Corridor Between Washington, DC, New York, NY, and Boston, MA

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

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SUMMARY: FRA is issuing this Notice of Intent (Notice) to advise the public of the preparation of a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate potential passenger rail improvements between Washington, DC, New York City, and Boston, MA. FRA is leading the planning and environmental evaluation of the Northeast Corridor (NEC), an effort known as NEC FUTURE, in close coordination with the involved states, Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission (NEC Commission), Amtrak and other stakeholders. The purpose of the NEC FUTURE program is to define current and future markets for improved rail service and capacity on the NEC, develop an integrated passenger rail transportation solution to incrementally meet those needs, and create a regional planning framework to engage stakeholders throughout the region in the development of the program.

NEC FUTURE is being advanced consistent with the federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program and includes the development of a Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP). A PRCIP provides the data necessary to support an FRA decision to fund and implement major investments in a passenger rail corridor. A PRCIP is comprised of two components: A Tier 1 EIS and a Service Development Plan (SDP). The Tier 1 EIS will be developed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, 40 CFR part 1500 et seq., and will address documentation on a broad corridor level. The SDP articulates the overall scope, alternatives, approach and business case for proposed service and improvements.

As part of the Tier 1 EIS, FRA will evaluate various passenger rail alternatives: A No Action Alternative, consisting of already planned improvements to the corridor, and Build Alternatives consisting of a full array of passenger rail alternatives which could range from operational and service enhancements to new physical improvements. FRA will consider the type, location and need for ancillary facilities for each alternative. The primary passenger rail route is the existing NEC passenger rail spine and its connecting corridors; however, in some areas, FRA may consider alternatives off of the existing NEC.

FRA is issuing this Notice to alert the public and agencies about the preparation of the Tier 1 EIS and associated SDP. To ensure that all significant issues are identified and considered, all interested parties are invited to comment on the proposed scope of environmental review, project purpose and need, alternatives to be considered, environmental effects to be considered and evaluated, and methodologies to be used for evaluating effects.

DATES: Submit comments by Friday, September 14, 2012. See the NEC FUTURE Web site (necfuture.com) for information on the scoping meeting dates.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are encouraged to comment on-line at the NEC FUTURE Web site (necfuture.com), via email at , or in person at the scoping meetings. For Further Information or Special Assistance Contact: Rebecca Reyes-Alicea, USDOT, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Railroad Policy & Development, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590; by email at info@necfuture.com, or; through the NEC FUTURE Web site (necfuture.com).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FRA is preparing a Tier 1 EIS and SDP for the NEC FUTURE program. Together the EIS and SDP comprise a PRCIP that will define a comprehensive and integrated passenger rail network in the Northeast region, looking at a range of service types and infrastructure needs, including plans for public investment in projects that contribute towards efficient service and increased capacity for intercity and high-speed passenger rail and freight and commuter rail service. The PRCIP will provide the economic, financial, transportation and environmental analyses necessary to support an investment in improved rail service as a core component of a more integrated, efficient, safer, and higher-capacity Northeast regional transportation network.

The FRA will use a tiered environmental review process for complying with NEPA, as per the CEQ regulations, 40 CFR 1508.28, and in accordance with FRA's Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts, 64 FR 28454 (FRA Environmental Procedures). The Tier 1 EIS will also address the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 36 CFR Part 800, Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C. 303, and other applicable Federal and state laws and regulations. The outcome of the Tier 1 EIS will be to identify markets to be served, service(s), general alignment and station locations.

The NEC FUTURE program is intended to develop a rail transportation investment program to support the Northeast region's economic competitiveness and growth potential with energy-efficient and sustainable transportation services. For purposes of defining and analyzing transportation alternatives for NEC FUTURE, the study area has been broadly defined to encompass the region served by the NEC, plus those areas that can be reached from the NEC directly by train or via a single transfer to connecting corridors (e.g., the Empire Corridor in New York). The study area may be refined as the NEC FUTURE program progresses and off-corridor alternatives are identified.

Purpose and Need

The Northeast region is served by an extensive intermodal passenger and freight transportation system of highways, airports, ports, intercity, commuter and freight rail, and public transit systems. However, that transportation system lacks sufficient capacity or redundancy to support local and inter-regional mobility needs, resulting in major congestion and delays. Many components of the system are in a state of disrepair or, worse, have reached the point of obsolescence.

The need for the project is founded in the importance of mobility to the continued economic vitality of the Northeast region, coupled with projected population, economic and travel demand growth. Without investment, the limitations of the region's transportation network will constrain the growth, competitiveness and economic development of the region. The focus of NEC FUTURE is the rail network, an important component of the transportation network, and its role in providing and improving regional mobility.

Alternatives To Be Considered

The Tier 1 EIS will evaluate preliminary alternatives including a No Action Alternative and various Build Alternatives. The No Action Alternative will serve as a baseline for comparison of all alternatives. The No Action Alternative will draw upon State Transportation Improvement Programs and existing intercity passenger, commuter and freight rail plans as well as planned highway and air network improvements. The Tier 1 EIS will develop and evaluate a range of reasonable Build Alternatives. The Build Alternatives will be developed at a corridor level and will address travel markets, services, operations, general alignments and station locations. Build Alternatives could include physical improvements to the NEC spine to increase capacity, enhance safety, modernize the infrastructure, improve reliability and reduce trip time. Other alternatives could also be service- or operation-related that provide rail service to new markets or change existing patterns of service. In addition, there may be Build Alternatives off the existing NEC spine or its connecting corridors.

Possible Effects

FRA will evaluate direct, indirect and cumulative changes to the social, economic, and physical environment, including land use and socioeconomic conditions, ecological resources, water resources, cultural resources, hazardous contamination, transportation, air quality, noise and vibration at a level commensurate with a Tier 1 EIS. Analysis will be consistent with NEPA, CEQ regulations, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, FRA Environmental Procedures, applicable state environmental regulations, and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, along with other applicable Federal and State regulations.

Scoping Process

The FRA is inviting comments and suggestions from all interested parties regarding the scope of the Tier 1 EIS to ensure that all uses are addressed related to this proposal and that any significant impacts are identified. Please direct comments or questions concerning the proposed action and the Tier 1 EIS to the FRA at the above address. FRA will send letters describing the proposed action and soliciting comments to the appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies, Native American tribes and to private organizations that might have previously expressed or that are known to have an interest in this proposal.

FRA is leading the outreach activities with agency and public meetings occurring in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. The meetings and other public involvement initiatives, including newsletters and outreach, will be held throughout the course of this study. Dates, times and locations for the scoping meetings and other opportunities for public participation will be announced on the NEC FUTURE Web site (necfuture.com) and through mailings, notices, advertisements and press releases. In addition, the scoping meeting presentation will be available on the NEC FUTURE Web site along with a scoping package that can also be obtained upon request by contacting Rebecca Reyes-Alicea at the mailing address above or electronically at info@necfuture.com.

Comments will be accepted on the scoping of the EIS in meetings, through the NEC FUTURE Web site (necfuture.com) and by submitting written comments to Rebecca Reyes-Alicea at the address above. The formal comment period for scoping will be open from the date of this Notice until Friday, September 14, 2012.

Issued in Washington, DC, on June 18, 2012.

John Tunna,
Director of the Office of Research and Development, Federal Railroad Administration.

[FR Doc. 2012-15241 Filed 6-21-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-06-P

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[DOT Docket No. NHTSA-2011-0084]

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Request for public comment on proposed collection of information.

SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), on June 24, 2011 (76 FR 37189) the agency published a 60-day notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comment on the proposed information collection abstracted below.

In further compliance with the PRA, the agency now publishes this second notice announcing the submission of its proposed collection to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and notifying the public about how to submit comments on the proposed collection to OMB during the 30-day comment period.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before July 23, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments [identified by Docket No. DOT- NHTSA-2011-0084] through one of the following methods:

  • Internet Submission: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail or Hand Delivery: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Room W12- 140, Washington, DC 20590, between Paper Comments.
  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File No. SR-C2-2012-024. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/ sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of C2. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-C2-2012- 024 and should be submitted on or before September 28, 2012.

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.31

Kevin M. O'Neill,
Deputy Secretary.

[FR Doc. 2012-22059 Filed 9-6-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P

31 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration

Environmental Impact Statement for the Northeast Corridor Between Washington, DC, New York, NY, and Boston, MA

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of intent to extend the formal comment period for scoping to October 19, 2012.

SUMMARY: FRA is issuing this Notice of Intent (Notice) to advise the public and Federal, state, and local agencies of the extension of the formal comment period for the NEC FUTURE program scoping process. The Notice of Intent to prepare a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate potential passenger rail improvements between Washington, DC, New York City, and Boston, MA was published in the Federal Register on June 22, 2012. The formal comment period for scoping was scheduled to close on Friday, September 14, 2012. In response to requests from the public provided in public testimony at Scoping meetings held from August 13th through August 22nd at nine different venues between Washington, DC and Boston, Massachusetts, FRA has decided to extend the formal comment period until Friday, October 19, 2012.

DATES: Comment period extended from Friday, September 14, 2012 to Friday, October 19, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are encouraged to comment on-line at the NEC FUTURE Web site (necfuture.com), via email at , or by mail at the address below. For Further Information or Special Assistance Contact: Rebecca Reyes-Alicea, USDOT, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Railroad Policy & Development, Mail Stop 20, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590; by email at ; or through the NEC FUTURE Web site (necfuture.com).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FRA is leading the planning and environmental evaluation of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) in close coordination with the involved states, Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission (NEC Commission), Amtrak, and other stakeholders. The purpose of the NEC FUTURE program is to define current and future markets for improved rail service and capacity on the NEC, develop an integrated passenger rail transportation solution to incrementally meet those needs, and create a regional planning framework to engage stakeholders throughout the region in the development of the program.

The materials that were presented at the Scoping meetings held from August 13th to August 22nd, including a narrated PowerPoint presentation and display boards, will be available on the NEC FUTURE Web site (necfuture.com). To ensure that all significant issues are identified and considered, all interested parties are invited to comment on the proposed scope of environmental review, project purpose and need, alternatives to be considered, environmental effects to be considered and evaluated, and methodologies to be used for evaluating effects. Persons with limited internet access may request a hard copy of the Public Scoping meeting materials by contacting Rebecca Reyes-Alicea at the mailing address above. Please direct comments or questions concerning the proposed action and the Tier 1 EIS to the FRA at the above address.

Issued in Washington, DC, on August 31, 2012.

Paul Nissenbaum,
Associate Administrator of Rail Policy and Development, Federal Railroad Administration.

[FR Doc. 2012-22060 Filed 9-6-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-06-P

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Public Scoping Presentation

Scoping Meeting for NEC FUTURE Tier I Environmental Impact Statement August 2012 Federal Railroad Administration Office of Railroad Policy and Development

NEC FUTURE

Who is Involved?

  • Led by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
  • Key stakeholders:
    • Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission
    • Eight states and the District of Columbia
    • Commuter authorities, Amtrak, and NEC freight operators
  • Early engagement of environmental resource agencies
  • You - the public and communities along the NEC

Tonight's Topics

  • The Northeast Corridor
  • Issues for the Future
  • Study Process
  • How You Can Participate

What is the Northeast Corridor?

Map of area
  • Rail spine connecting Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.
  • 457 miles long
  • Built 100-150 years ago
  • Serves 8 states & D.C.
  • Connections north, west and south

The Northeast Corridor

Who Does it Serve?

  • 259 million passengers per year
    • Amtrak passengers (Regional and Acela)
    • Commuters and local travelers on eight systems
  • 70 daily freight trains

Who Does It Serve?

Amtrack map
  • 13 million Amtrak passengers per year
Map of commuter systems
  • 246 million passengers per year on 8 commuter systems
Map of area
  • Connections to other modes of travel
Map of connecting corridors

Connecting Corridors

  • New Haven-Hartford-Springfield
  • Knowledge (Springfield-Vermont)
  • Empire (NYC-Albany)
  • Keystone (Harrisburg)
  • Southeast (VA-NC)
Map of freight routes
  • Freight Service

Importance of the NEC Today

The Region Depends on the NEC Today

Issues for the Future

Growth Will Increase the Need for Rail Service

  • Population to grow to 58 million by 2040
  • Intercity trips to increase 45%
  • Freight to increase

NEC Faces Major Challenges

  • Limited track capacity
  • Critical chokepoints
  • Older infrastructure

Complex Choices

  • How and where will the region grow?
  • How can the rail system best support that growth?
  • What are the highest priority investments to be made through 2040?

Key Goals

  • Integrated passenger rail solution for the Northeast - commuter, intercity, high speed rail and freight
  • Provide high-quality rail service with capacity to meet growing demand
  • Strengthen connections between intercity, regional and local rail passenger and local transit modes
  • Near- and long-term solutions to the region's mobility problems
  • Phased improvement program that builds on existing service
  • Reduce environmental impacts and energy use of future travel
  • Encourage private sector participation

Study Process

Two Elements Form the Plan

  1. Service Planning
    Service Development Plan
  2. Broad Environmental Review
    Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement

Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan

NEPA Process

  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the FRA to consider the environmental impacts of decisions prior to taking action
    • Tier 1 EIS will document this process
    • Scoping is the required first step of the EIS
  • FRA will follow related regulations, including Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966

All Options Are On the Table

  • Defines markets and service needs - no preconceived solution
  • Considers what services are most needed and when
  • Alternatives screened and evaluated to meet goals

Defining the Scope of Study

  • Purpose and Need
  • Goals
  • Study Area
  • Potential Alternatives
  • Evaluation Criteria
  • Types of Environmental Impacts to be Considered
Scope

2012

  • Purpose & Need
  • Data Collection
  • Scoping

*We are here

2012 - 2013

  • Develop Alternatives

2013-2014

  • Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

2014-2015

  • Final EIS (FEIS)

2015

  • Record of Decision (ROD)

Next Steps

  • Scoping Summary
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Alternatives Development
    • Coarse Screening
    • Preliminary Alternatives Report

Thank You For Attending

Continue Your Participation

  • Please comment - use a comment card, go online, or submit by mail through September 14, 2012
  • All comments will be considered and summarized in the Scoping Summary
  • Visit our website at necfuture.com to learn more
  • Thank you!

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Agency Scoping Presentation

Agency Scoping Meeting for NEC FUTURE Tier I Environmental Impact Statement August 2012

Agenda

  • Welcome & Introductions
  • Public Scoping Presentation/Study Process
  • Agency Involvement
  • Discussion
  • Next Steps

NEC FUTURE

Who is Involved?

  • Led by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
  • Key stakeholders:
    • Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission
    • Eight states and the District of Columbia
    • Commuter authorities, Amtrak, and NEC freight operators
  • Collaboration with U.S. Department of Transportation modal agencies - Aviation, Highway, Maritime, Transit
  • Early engagement with federal and state environmental resource agencies

What is the Northeast Corridor?

Map of area
  • Rail spine connecting Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.
  • 457 miles long
  • Built 100-150 years ago
  • Serves 8 states & D.C.
  • Connections north, west and south

The Northeast Corridor

Who Does it Serve?

  • 259 million passengers per year
    • Amtrak passengers (Regional and Acela)
    • Commuters and local travelers on eight systems
  • 70 daily freight trains
Amtrack map
  • 13 million Amtrak passengers per year
Map of commuter systems
  • 246 million passengers per year on 8 commuter systems
Map of area
  • Connections to other modes of travel
Map of connecting corridors

Connecting Corridors

  • New Haven-Hartford-Springfield
  • Knowledge (Springfield-Vermont)
  • Empire (NYC-Albany)
  • Keystone (Harrisburg)
  • Southeast (VA-NC)
Map of freight routes
  • Freight Service

Importance of the NEC Today

The Region Depends on the NEC Today

Issues for the Future

Growth Will Increase the Need for Rail Service

  • Population to grow to 58 million by 2040
  • Intercity trips to increase 45%
  • Freight to increase

NEC Faces Major Challenges

  • Limited track capacity
  • Critical chokepoints
  • Older infrastructure

Complex Choices

  • How and where will the region grow?
  • How can the rail system best support that growth?
  • What are the highest priority investments to be made through 2040?

Key Goals

  • Integrated passenger rail solution for the Northeast - commuter, intercity, high speed rail and freight
  • Provide high-quality rail service with capacity to meet growing demand
  • Strengthen connections between intercity, regional and local rail passenger and local transit modes
  • Near- and long-term solutions to the region's mobility problems
  • Phased improvement program that builds on existing service
  • Reduce environmental impacts and energy use of future travel
  • Encourage private sector participation

Study Process

Two Elements form the Plan

  1. Service Planning
    Service Development Plan
  2. Broad Environmental Review
    Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement

    Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan

    Preliminary Engineering & Tier 2 Environmental Reviews

    Permitting & Construction

NEPA Process

  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the FRA to consider the environmental impacts of decisions prior to taking action
    • Tier 1 EIS will document this process
    • Scoping is the required first step of the EIS
  • FRA will follow related regulations, including Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966

Environmental Analysis

Identification of Tier 1 Methodologies

Consistency across geographies

Approach by environmental factor

Ties to subsequent project-level reviews

Coordination with federal, state resource agencies

Extensive corridor-wide existing conditions data collection

GIS-focus for corridor-wide environmental review

State, MPO, or county level of detail

All Options Are On the Table

  • Defines markets and service needs - no preconceived solution
  • Considers what services are most needed and when
  • Alternatives screened and evaluated to meet goals

Alternatives Evaluation

  • No Action Alternative:
    • Represents future NEC with only currently planned/funded improvements and no increases in capacity
  • Build Alternatives to be identified through stakeholder outreach and scoping:
    • Address existing NEC needs and markets
    • Provide opportunities for growth › Improve and enhance capacity, connectivity, and reliability
    • Meet environmental and economic needs

Scoping Process

  • Scoping process from June 22nd through September 14, 2012
  • Scoping meetings scheduled between August 13th and 22nd at nine different venues
  • Scoping notification
    • Newspaper advertisements
    • Email blast to mailing list
    • Web site - necfuture.com
Scope

2012

  • Purpose & Need
  • Data Collection
  • Scoping

*We are here

2012 - 2013

  • Develop Alternatives

2013-2014

  • Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

2014-2015

  • Final EIS (FEIS)

2015

  • Record of Decision (ROD)

Agency Involvement

  • Agency and Public Involvement Coordination Plan
  • Scoping comments through September 14, 2012
  • Project updates via website at necfuture.com and/or email to
  • Targeted webinars to solicit input
  • Review of project materials at key milestones

Discussion

Next Steps

  • Scoping Summary
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Alternatives Development
    • Coarse Screening
    • Preliminary Alternatives Report

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Public Scoping Display Boards

Welcome to the NEC FUTURE Scoping Meetings (August 2012)

Photos of transit related activities

Tonight's Agenda

  • 4:30-7:30 pm: View Displays
    • Introduction and study process
    • Purpose, goals and key issues
    • Alternatives development
    • How to stay involved
  • 5:30 pm: Presentation
  • Comments
    • Public or private comment
    • Comment cards

What is NEC FUTURE?

NEC FUTURE is the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) comprehensive planning process for future rail investment in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), the rail spine that links Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

  • NEC FUTURE has two major components that will identify and evaluate a full range of alternatives to improve passenger rail service in the Northeast:
    • Service Development Plan (SDP) - defines alternatives for rail service improvements, evaluates their impact on the existing network and operations, and assesses costs and benefits of the proposed plan.
    • Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - addresses the broad environmental effects of the alternatives for the entire corridor.
  • These components form a Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP), in accordance with the guidelines established by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA). The PRCIP is a foundation for future project development including engineering design, subsequent environmental reviews, environmental permitting and construction.

NEC FUTURE Study Area

The NEC, the rail transportation spine of the Northeast region, is a key component of the region's transportation system and vital to its sustained economic growth.

Today, the 457- mile NEC - anchored by Boston's South Station in the north, New York's Pennsylvania Station in the center, and Washington's Union Station in the south - is one of the most heavily traveled rail corridors in the world.

NEC FUTURE Study Area map

What is Scoping?

Cover of scoping document

Learn more in the Scoping Package
at necfuture.com

  • Scoping is an opportunity for the public to help shape the study process for NEC FUTURE
    • Feedback will help identify reasonable alternatives and potential environmental considerations
  • You may wish to comment on:
    • Study purpose, need and goals
    • Key issues to be considered
    • Potential environmental impacts
    • Alternatives development process
    • Other related issues of interest to you
      • What works well on the NEC today?
      • What needs to be improved?
Scoping chart

NEC FUTURE Process and Timeline

Spring 2012

  • Project Initiation
  • Initial Stakeholder Outreach
  • Data Collection

Summer 2012

  • Define Purpose and Need
  • Scoping (*we are here)

Fall 2012 - Winter 2014

  • Alternatives Development

Winter 2013 - Summer 2014

  • Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement
  • Draft Service Development Plan

Fall 2014 - Spring 2015

  • Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement
  • Final Service Development Plan
  • Record of Decision
Timeline graphic

NEPA Environmental Review Process

Street view
  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires Federal agencies to consider the environmental consequences of their decisions prior to taking any action
    • Environmental review incorporates compliance with other federal laws, including Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act
  • The key principles of environmental impact assessment are:
    • Full and open disclosure of environmental consequences
    • Interdisciplinary approach
    • Objective consideration of all reasonable alternatives
    • Focus on key issues
    • Measures to avoid or minimize adverse impacts
    • Consultation and coordination among agencies
    • Encouragement of public participation
  • Citizens reviewing maps
    What Types of impacts may be evaluated in the Tier 1 EIS?
    • Transportation effects
    • Air quality, noise, and vibration
    • Energy
    • Land use
    • Communities and socioeconomic conditions
    • Open space, parklands and farmlands
    • Visual and aesthetic effects
    • Contamination and hazardous materials
    • Cultural resources
    • Water and geologic resources
    • Protected species and critical habitats
    • Secondary and cumulative effects

Tier 1 Environmental Review Process

The FRA is complying with NEPA for the NEC FUTURE program by preparing a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

  • A Tiered Approach was selected for NEC FUTURE due to the scope, complexity and long-term nature of this multi-state planning effort
  • A Tier 1 EIS provides a broad evaluation of large-scale programs
Alternatives
  • General (Planning-Level):
    • Service types
    • Alignments Stations
Engineering
  • Very Conceptual
Analysis
  • Broad
  • GIS-Based mapping
  • Relies heavily on readily available information
Permits
  • Identify likely permits and requirements
Environmental Finding
  • Results in "Finding" for the Preferred Alternative, in this case the selected Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP)

The outcome of the Tier 1 EIS will be the selection of a Preferred Alternative consisting of a program of investments for the NEC

Tier 1 Environmental Review Process

Preparation of the Tier 1 DEIS

The Tier 1 Draft EIS will contain the following elements:

  • Project Purpose and Need
  • Alternatives Considered
  • Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences
  • Potential Measures to Minimize or Mitigate Impacts
Circulation of the Tier 1 DEIS

The Tier 1 Draft EIS will be circulated for public and agency comment.

Selection of a Preferred Alternative*

The FRA will review all comments and select the Preferred Alternative* based on the Tier 1 Draft EIS analysis and public input.

Preparation and Circulation of the Tier 1 FEIS

The Tier 1 Final EIS will present an evaluation of the Preferred Alternative* and include the FRA's response to comments on the Tier 1 Draft EIS.

Preparation of the ROD

After public review of the Tier 1 Final EIS, the FRA will prepare a Record of Decision (ROD) that documents:

  • Selection of the Preferred Alternative*
  • Mitigation strategies
  • Project commitments to be carried out in subsequent environmental reviews

* The Preferred Alternative will consist of a program of investments for the NEC

What is Section 106 Review?
  • Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires the FRA to consider the potential impact of the NEC FUTURE investment program on historic properties
  • NEC FUTURE is following a phased approach to Section 106 consultation, concurrent with the Tier 1 EIS
    • Initiation of Section 106 consultation with State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) across the eight states and the District of Columbia along the NEC
    • Provide Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment
    • Framework for initiating Section 106 consultation in Tier 1 and completing Section 106 consultation at the project level
  • The Section 106 review includes:
    • Identification of important historic, architectural and archaeological resources
    • Evaluation of significance for the National Register of Historic Places
    • Evaluation of potential impacts
    • Development of measures to avoid and minimize harm to historic properties
    • Extensive consultation with the public, interested organizations, and corridor-wide SHPOs/THPOs

What is the Need for NEC FUTURE?

  • The Northeast faces serious mobility challenges
  • NEC is an economic anchor for the Nation
  • NEC FUTURE is part of a comprehensive transportation solution
The Northeast Region is growing...

From 2010 to 2040...

  • Population +13%
  • Employment +23%
  • Most growth in Northeast is concentrated in the four largest urban areas (among 10 largest US cities).

Largest U.S. Metropolitan Areas (2010)

Largest U.S. Metropolitcan Areas (2010)
Growth affects all modes of travel

From 2010 to 2040...

  • Air passenger demand +122%
  • Highway congestion - worsening metropolitan areas congestion
  • Freight demand +34%
Annual Boardings for "Core Airports" in the NEC (000s)
Airport 2010 2040 Growth
JFK 22,395 64,707 189%
Newark 16,498 34,281 108%
Philadelphia 14,827 30,972 109%
Boston 13,234 24,264 83%
LaGuardia 11,801 16,508 40%
Dulles 11,160 35,676 220%
BWI 10,611 23,321 120%
Reagan National 8,536 11,934 40%
Total Boardings 109,062 241,663 122%
 
Intercity Travel Demand is also growing...

From 2010 to 2040...

  • Total intercity trips +45%
  • Future mode share shapedby transportation investment decisions

Annual Intercity Travel Volumes Along the NEC

Annual Intercity Travel Volumes Along the NEC

What is the Need for NEC FUTURE?

  • Limited capacity constrains growth
  • Critical chokepoints
  • Aging and obsolete infrastructure
Map of area segments
New England Segments
  • Severe limits on speed and number of trains between NYC and New Haven and between Providence and Boston
  • Aging movable bridges in CT require replacement
  • Limited capacity for commuter and freight growth in RI and MA

New York/New Jersey Segments

  • Limited station and train storage capacity in New York area
  • Need for additional trans Hudson tunnel capacity
  • Speed and capacity constraints at major interlocking: New Rochelle, Harold, Kearny and Newark
  • Severe congestion on rail lines approaching New York
  • Aging signal and rail infrastructure undermines reliability
  • Aging bridges in NY and NJ require replacement
Philadelphia/Washington Segments
  • Limited capacity for commuter and freight growth in MD
  • Aging tunnels and bridges require replacement
  • Electrification system requires modernization
  • Speed and capacity constraints at major interlocking: Trenton, North Philadelphia, Wilmington, Perryville and Washington
  • Terminal capacity constraints at Washington
  • Severe platform and track constraints at Washington, New Carrollton, BWI and Baltimore stations

What is the Need for NEC FUTURE? Why invest in rail?

Transportation networks in the Northeast are constrained and all intercity modes face challenges to meet even existing travel demand.
NEC Rail Network

NEC Rail Network: Aging infrastructure, limited track capacity, critical chokepoints.

Aviation Network

Aviation Network: Congestion at regional airports

Highway Network

Highway Network: Aging infrastructure and heavily congested roadways.

Repairing and upgrading the NEC network will improve reliability and performance and set the stage for future growth
  • NEC repairs & upgrades needed to address long-standing problems
  • Further rail investments needed to meet growing travel demand.
  • Rail can play greater role in meeting future intercity travel demand in Northeast
Repairing the rail Meeting
An investment in rail is part of an overall transportation solution to promote sustainability and economic growth in the Northeast region
People near the rail tracks Transit vehicle going through business area Residential neighborhood
Station location

NEC FUTURE Goals and Objectives

  • Develop an integrated passenger rail solution that complements investments in the region's other modes
  • Provide attractive, high-quality passenger rail service with:
    • Capacity to meet growing demand
    • Bike rack
      Improved connectivity (better timed connections, and access to other modes)
    • Competitive travel times
    • Highly reliable and user-friendly service
    • Safe and secure travel
    • Convenient service at competitive cost
    • Strengthen connections among intercity, regional and local rail passenger and local transit modes.
  • Waterway
    Provide near- and long-term solutions for identified Northeast passenger travel markets
  • Support plans to meet future freight rail demand
  • Reflect funding and financial limits and challenges of upgrading NEC under full operation
  • Reduce environmental impacts and energy use due to projected travel demand growth
  • Encourage private sector involvement in future corridor improvements and operations
    People in a transit station

What key issues should NEC FUTURE address in this region?

Preliminary Study Area - North
Preliminary Study Area - South

Alternatives Development

  • Initial list of alternatives will be based on:
    • Markets - Geography
    • Travel Market Size - Existing and Future
    • Service
    • Infrastructure
  • Many types of rail service:
    • Intercity Rail - Limited-stop passenger service focused on providing connections to multiple cities along a route. Top speed ranges from 79 to 125 mph. Amtrak operates intercity service across the NEC and along connecting corridors to the north, west and south of the NEC.
    • High Speed Rail - Limited-stop intercity passenger service focused on the fastest trip time between major urban centers. Top speed ranges from 125 to 225 mph. Amtrak's Acela trains operate between Washington and Boston at speeds up to 150 mph.
    • Commuter Rail - Local passenger rail service between a major urban center and the communities around it, serving daily passengers commuting to work. There are eight commuter rail services operating on portions of the NEC. Service is most frequent during the peak morning and evening hours.
    • Freight Service - Non-passenger trains serving individual businesses and/or providing through service to major ports and yards. Freight trains in the Northeast haul coal, agricultural products, finished products, automobiles and containers. Five major railroads operate along the NEC.

NEC FUTURE alternatives identified during scoping will be evaluated in a multi-step screening process. Alternatives development and screening (SDP) will advance in parallel with the environmental review process (Tier 1 EIS). Stakeholders, interested parties and the public will have opportunities to review and comment on the process and its findings. The outcome will be a preferred program of investments for the NEC.

Steps in the process

 

Step Process Public/Agency Review Milestones
Step 1: Course Screening
This screen will reduce the Initial List of Alternatives to a shorter list of Preliminary Alternatives
Develop Purpose & Need/ Goals & Objectives Public/Agency Scoping
Develop INITIAL list of Alternatives
Develop Screen Criteria & Methodology  
Perform Initial Coarse "Fatal Flaw" Screening  
Develop PRELIMINARY List of Alternatives Public/Stakeholder Meetings
Step 2: Fine Screening
This screen will result in a list of Reasonable Alternatives
Perform Detailed Fine Screening Prepare Tier 1 Draft EIS
Develop REASONABLE List of Alternatives Tier 1 Draft EIS Public Hearings
Step 3: Select Preferred Alternative
This screen will further narrow the list of Reasonable Alternatives to a Preferred Alternative, consisting of a program of investments for the NEC.
Perform Final Screen and Select Preferred Alternative Public/Stakeholder Meetings and Preparation of Tier 1 Final EIS / SDP

Stay Involved - Thank You!

Next Steps
  • All comments will be reviewed and summarized in a Scoping Summary to be posted on the project website
  • Further opportunity for participation and comment during the development of the Tier 1 Draft EIS
What you can do
  • Attend and participate in our meetings
  • Visit our website often
  • Sign up for email updates
  • Submit a question or comment by Sept. 14
Website Contact Us - website
Mobile connect to website Public meeting

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Public Scoping Comment Card and Handout

Comment Card

The Federal Railroad Administration is interested in your comments on NEC FUTURE.

Please fill out this comment card tonight and place it in the comment box, or send it to the address below. You can also submit comments on the project website at necfuture.com or via email to info@necfuture.com.

Mailing Address:
Rebecca Reyes-Alicea
USDOT, Federal Railroad Administration
Office of Railroad Policy & Development
Mail Stop 20
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington DC 20590

Comment Card
necfuture.com

Comment:

 

Name:
Address:

Email:

__ Check to be added to project email list

Please submit your comments today or fold in half and mail by Friday, September 14, 2012

Comment Card image

Project Overview
August 2012

A Rail Investment Plan for the Northeast Corridor

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently launched NEC FUTURE, a unique planning process for the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The NEC, the rail transportation spine which runs from Boston to Washington, D.C., accommodates over 2,000 passenger trains each day - including Amtrak and commuter rail services - along with 70 freight trains daily. The NEC is a critical part of the transportation system in the northeastern United States, a region encompassing eight states and the District of Columbia, and is home to one in six Americans. Yet today the NEC faces serious problems, with century-old infrastructure, outdated technology, and inadequate capacity to meet today's travel demand or to expand travel options as the region grows. With similar capacity issues on the region's highways, and some of the most congested airports in the nation, the Northeast faces mobility challenges that could have serious economic repercussions for the region and the nation as a whole.

Responding to these pressing issues, the FRA has initiated a comprehensive planning process for future rail investment in the corridor through 2040. The NEC FUTURE program includes both a service development plan (SDP) and a broad environmental analysis (known as a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS). These studies will help provide a roadmap to a better transportation solution for the Northeast.

Map of area

Over 2,000 passenger trains operate along the 457-mile corridor each day. The NEC is a vital part of the region's economy; the northeastern region accounts for one of every five dollars of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the nation.

Project Purpose

The purpose of NEC FUTURE is to develop an integrated passenger rail solution for the Northeast that improves mobility, meets current and future needs, supports economic development, reduces growth in carbon emissions and dependence on foreign oil, and contributes to improved land utilization and investment in the region's communities.

While the technical work is in an early stage, potential recommendations could include strategies such as:

  • Physical improvements to expand capacity, improve reliability and reduce travel times
  • Enhanced access to the NEC from off-corridor locations
  • Efficiency improvements and investments to relieve key bottlenecks, and
  • Intercity rail service options on existing and new alignments.

The NEC FUTURE program will serve as a framework for evaluating and prioritizing specific improvements. More information on the purpose, goals and planning process can be found in the project Scoping Package, available at necfuture.com.

A Phased Approach

A phased approach has been established for the 38- month project. The first phase runs through February 2013. It includes data collection and analysis, ridership forecasts, and a scoping process in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements. Preliminary alternatives will also be identified and screened for further analysis in Phase 2. The overall project is scheduled for completion in spring 2015.

Public and Stakeholder Engagement

The planning process is engaging stakeholders and the public in defining the issues to be studied and considering alternatives that can best address them. Please visit the project website, necfuture.com, to learn more. Comments may be submitted via the website or at . Public and agency scoping meetings will be held in August in each of the corridor's eight states and in the District of Columbia (see the website for details). During the planning process the FRA is working closely with the NEC Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission, which includes representatives from Amtrak, the U.S. Department of Transportation, corridor states and the District of Columbia. The NEC FUTURE program will also promote early collaboration with federal and state environmental agencies for efficient decision-making.

Niantic River Bridge

The Niantic River Bridge replacement in Connecticut is one of many improvements underway along the NEC. The NEC FUTURE program will define additional improvements to enhance service and capacity on the corridor.

Phase 1 Schedule
Activity Anticipated Date
Data Collection & Validation March - August 2012
Agency Coordination March 2012 - February 2013
Tier I EIS Notice of Intent June 22, 2012
Tier I EIS Scoping Period June 22, 2012 - September 14, 2012
Preliminary Alternatives Report January 2013

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Agency Scoping Invitations

The following organizations were invited to participate in the Scoping process. Two examples of invitations relayed to state and federal agencies follow.

Organization
Aberdeen
Adams Rural Transportation Study
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Amtrak
Baltimore Metropolitan Council
Berks County Planning Commission
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
Boston Region MPO/Central Transportation Planning Staff
Cape Cod Commission
Capital District Transportation Authority
Capital District Transportation Committee
Capitol Region Council of Governments
Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission
City of Baltimore
      Baltimore City Department of Planning
      Baltimore City Department of Transportation
City of Boston
      Boston Landmarks Commission
      Boston Redevelopment Authority
      City of Boston - Department of Neighborhood Development
      City of Boston - Office of Jobs and Community Services
      City of Boston - Transportation Department
City of Bridgeport
City of Danbury
City of Hartford
      City of New Haven
      City of New Haven - City Plan Department
      City of New Haven - Office of Economic Development
      City of New Haven - Transportation, Traffic & Parking
City of New London
City of New Rochelle
City of New York
      New York City Department of Environmental Protection
      New York City Department of Transportation
      New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
      New York City Planning Commission
City of Newark
      City of Newark - Department of Economic and Housing Development
City of Philadelphia
City of Philadelphia - Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities
      Philadelphia City Planning Commission
      Philadelphia Department of Commerce
      Philadelphia Historical Commission
      Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority
City of Providence
      City of Providence - Economic Development
      City of Providence - Planning and Development
City of Springfield
City of Stamford
City of Trenton
City of Waterbury
City of Wilmington
      City of Wilmington - Department of Planning and Development
      City of Wilmington - Mayor's Office of Economic Development
Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality
Connecticut Department of Agriculture
Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development - Historic Preservation and Museum Division
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Connecticut Department of Public Health
Connecticut Department of Transportation
Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency
Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley
CT Transit
Delaware Department of Agriculture
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security
Delaware Department of Transportation
Delaware Department of Transportation - Delaware Transit Corporation
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Delaware Economic Development Office
Delaware Geological  Survey, University of Delaware
Delaware River & Bay Authority
Delaware River Basin Commission
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
Diamond State Port Corporation (Port of Wilmington)
District of Columbia
      District Department of the Environment
      District Department of Transportation
      District Department of Housing and Community Development
      District Department of Parks and Recreation
      District of Columbia - Office of Planning
      District of Columbia - Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
      District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office
      District of Columbia - Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency
Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization
Empire State Development
Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration - Eastern Region
Federal Aviation Administration - New England Region
Federal Emergency Management Agency - Region 1
Federal Emergency Management Agency - Region 2
Federal Emergency Management Agency - Region 3
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Highway Administration - Connecticut Division
Federal Highway Administration - DelMar Division, Baltimore Office
Federal Highway Administration - DelMar Division, Dover Office
Federal Highway Administration - District of Columbia Division
Federal Highway Administration - Massachusetts Division
Federal Highway Administration - New Hampshire Division
Federal Highway Administration - New Jersey Division
Federal Highway Administration - New York Division
Federal Highway Administration - Pennsylvania Division
Federal Highway Administration - Rhode Island Division
Federal Highway Administration - Vermont Division
Federal Highway Administration - Virginia Division
Federal Transit Administration
Federal Transit Administration - Region 1 Office
Federal Transit Administration - Region 2 Office
Federal Transit Administration - Region 3 Office
Franklin Regional Council of Governments
Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
Greater Bridgeport Regional Council
Greater Bridgeport Transit
Harford Transit
Harrisburg Area Transportation Study / Tri-County Regional Planning Commission
Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials
Howard Transit
Lancaster County Transportation Coordinating Committee
Lebanon County Planning Organization
Lehigh Valley Planning Commission
Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials
Long Island Rail Road
Maine Department of Transportation
Maritime Administration
Maritime Administration - Mid-Atlantic Gateway Office
Maritime Administration - North Atlantic Gateway Office
Martha's Vineyard Commission
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development
Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Planning
Maryland Department of the Environment
Maryland Department of Transportation
Maryland Department of Transportation - Maryland Aviation Administration
Maryland Department of Transportation - Maryland Port Administration
Maryland Department of Transportation - State Highway Administration
Maryland Department of Transportation - Maryland Transit Administration
Maryland Emergency Management Agency
Maryland Historic Trust
Maryland Public Service Commission
Maryland Transportation Authority
Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Massachusetts Historical Commission
MassPort (Port of Boston)
Merrimack Valley Planning Commission
Metro-North Railroad
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Metropolitan Transportation Authority - Bridges and Tunnels
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Midstate Regional Planning Agency
Montachusett Regional Planning Commission
Moynihan Station Development Corporation
Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission
National Capital Planning Commission
National Park Service - Headquarters
National Park Service - National Capital Region
National Park Service - Northeast Region
New Carrollton
New Castle County
New Hampshire Department of Transportation
New Haven Port Authority
New Jersey Department of Agriculture
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation
New Jersey Department of Transportation
New Jersey Economic Development Authority
New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
New Jersey Office for Planning Advocacy
New Jersey Turnpike Authority
New York City Economic Development Corporation
New York City Transit
New York Metropolitan Transportation Council
New York State Bridge Authority
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Transportation
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Division for Historic Preservation
New York State Thruway Authority
NJ TRANSIT
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service - Annapolis Field Office
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service - Gloucester Field Office
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service - Northeast Regional Office
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service - Sandy Hook Field Office
North Carolina Department of Transportation
North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments
Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance
Northern Middlesex Council of Governments
Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority
Northwestern Connecticut Council of Governments
Norwalk Transit District
NY/NJ Baykeeper
Old Colony Planning Council
Old Saybrook
Orange County Transportation Council
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission - Bureau for Historic Preservation
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Philadelphia Regional Port Authority
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey - Trans-Hudson
Port Authority Transit Corp - Delaware River Port Authority
Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council
Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation
Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation
Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission
Rhode Island Public Transit Authority
Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program
Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority
Richmond Regional Planning District Commission
Shoreline East
South Central Regional Council of Governments
South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization
South Western Regional Planning Agency
Southeast Area Transit District
Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District
Stonington
Town of Groton
Town of South Kingstown
Ulster County Transportation Council
US Army Corps of Engineers - Headquarters
US Army Corps of Engineers - North Atlantic Division
US Coast Guard
US Coast Guard - District 1 Bridge Program
US Coast Guard - District 5 Bridge Program
US Coast Guard - Headquarters Bridge Program
US Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service
US Department of the Interior - Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance - Headquarters
US Department of the Interior , Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance - Boston Region
US Environmental Protection Agency - Headquarters
US Environmental Protection Agency - Region 1
US Environmental Protection Agency - Region 2
US Environmental Protection Agency - Region 3
US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Fish & Wildlife Service - Chesapeake Bay Field Office
US Fish & Wildlife Service - Long Island Field Office
US Fish & Wildlife Service - New Jersey Field Office
US Fish & Wildlife Service - Pennsylvania Field Office
US Fish and Wildlife Service - New England Field Office
Valley Council of Governments
Vermont Agency of Transportation
Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
Virginia Department of Transportation
Virginia Railway Express
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Westerly
Westwood
Wilmington Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Windham Region Council of Governments
Woodbridge Township
York Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

The following Tribal governments were invited to participate in the Scoping process.

Tribe
Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
Cayuga Nation of New York
Delaware Nation
Delaware Tribe
Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribal Nation
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island
Oneida Nation of New York
Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
Onondaga Nation of New York
Seneca Nation of New York
Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma
Shawnee Tribe
Shinnecock Indian Nation
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe
Stockbridge Munsee Community, Wisconsin
Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut
Towanda Band of Seneca Indians of New York
Tuscarora Nation of New York
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) of Massachusetts

NEC FUTURE
1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E.
Washington D.C. 20590

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Railroad Administration

July 30, 2012

<blacked out>
<blacked out>
US Environmental Protection Agency - Region 1
<blacked out>
<blacked out>

Re: FRA's NEC FUTURE program Tier 1 EIS Agency Scoping Meetings

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently initiated NEC FUTURE, a unique planning process for the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The NEC, the rail transportation spine of the Northeast, is a critical part of the transportation system in the Northeastern United States. It faces serious problems, with century-old infrastructure, outdated technology, and inadequate capacity to meet today's travel demand. As the region grows, its ability to meet future demands will continue to deteriorate unless significant improvements are made. With similar capacity constraints on the region's highways, and some of the most congested airports in the nation, the Northeast faces mobility challenges that could have serious economic repercussions for the region, and the nation.

Responding to these challenges, the FRA has initiated a comprehensive planning process for future rail investment in the corridor through 2040. The NEC FUTURE program includes the development of a Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP), which is comprised of both a service development plan (SDP) and a broad environmental analysis, or a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) and FRA's Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts, will present the results of a broad examination of environmental impacts associated with the proposed service and service alternatives. The purpose of this solution is to improve mobility, effectively serve travel demand due to population and jobs growth, support economic development, reduce growth in carbon emissions and dependence on foreign oil, and contribute to improved land utilization and investment in both urban and non-urban communities in the region.

As the lead Federal agency, the FRA will be conducting a series of public and agency scoping meetings in August in each of the corridor's eight states and the District of Columbia. The FRA would like to extend an invitation to you to attend an Agency Scoping Meeting of your choosing. The Agency Scoping Meetings will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the following dates and at the listed locations:

Monday, August 13 - Boston, MA
Massachusetts State Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza, Conference Rooms 1, 2 and 3
Boston, MA

Tuesday, August 14 - New Haven, CT
Shubert Theater
247 College Street
New Haven, CT

Wednesday, August 15 - Newark, NJ
North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA)
One Newark Center, 17th Floor
Newark, NJ

Wednesday, August 15 - Baltimore, MD
University of Baltimore, Thumel Conference Facilities
11 W. Mount Royal Street
Baltimore, MD

Thursday, August 16 - New York City, NY
Farley Post Office / Moynihan Station
380 W. 33rd Street, Room 4500
New York, NY

Monday, August 20 - Philadelphia, PA
SEPTA Board Room Complex
1234 Market Street, Mezzanine Level
Philadelphia, PA

Monday, August 20 - Wilmington, DE
Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French Street
Wilmington, DE

Tuesday, August 21 - Washington, DC
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
777 N. Capitol St., NE
Washington DC

Wednesday, August 22 - Providence, RI
Department of Administration
One Capitol Hill
Providence, RI

You are also invited to participate in the Public Scoping Meetings to be held on the same date and in the same location from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Public Scoping Meetings will be an open house format with a presentation by the FRA at 5:30 p.m. Additional information about the nine Public Scoping Meetings, including dates, times, locations and directions, is available on the website, necfuture.com.

We hope that you, or your designated alternate, will be able to participate in this Agency Scoping process to ensure that your office's mission, expertise, and priorities are reflected in FRA's planning process. We would appreciate your agency's attendance at a Scoping meeting.

Please let us know if you can attend one of the above Agency Scoping Meetings, or if you would like to send an alternate to attend. To confirm your participation, please contact the NEC FUTURE team via email at by August 9th. Please indicate which Scoping Meeting you plan to attend.

More information about the project is available on the website, necfuture.com. It is possible to comment through the website as well. The scoping comment period will extend until September 14th.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
<Signature>
Rebecca Reyes-Alicea
NEC Proejct Manager
USDOT, Federal Railroad Administration

NEC FUTURE
1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E.
Washington D.C. 20590

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Railroad Administration

July 27, 2012

<blacked out>
<blacked out>
Maryland Department of the Environment
<blacked out>
<blacked out>

Re: FRA's NEC FUTURE program Tier 1 EIS Agency Scoping Meetings

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently initiated NEC FUTURE, a unique planning process for the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The NEC, the rail transportation spine of the Northeast, is a critical part of the transportation system in the Northeastern United States. It faces serious problems, with century-old infrastructure, outdated technology, and inadequate capacity to meet today's travel demand. As the region grows, its ability to meet future demands will continue to deteriorate unless significant improvements are made. With similar capacity constraints on the region's highways, and some of the most congested airports in the nation, the Northeast faces mobility challenges that could have serious economic repercussions for the region, and the nation.

Responding to these challenges, the FRA has initiated a comprehensive planning process for future rail investment in the corridor through 2040. The NEC FUTURE program includes the development of a Passenger Rail Corridor Investment Plan (PRCIP), which is comprised of both a service development plan (SDP) and a broad environmental analysis, or a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) and FRA's Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts, will present the results of a broad examination of environmental impacts associated with the proposed service and service alternatives. The purpose of this solution is to improve mobility, effectively serve travel demand due to population and jobs growth, support economic development, reduce growth in carbon emissions and dependence on foreign oil, and contribute to improved land utilization and investment in both urban and non-urban communities in the region.

As the lead Federal agency, the FRA will be conducting a series of public and agency scoping meetings in August in each of the corridor's eight states and the District of Columbia. The FRA would like to extend an invitation to you to attend the Agency Scoping Session in Maryland to be held on Wednesday, August 15th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at University of Baltimore, Thumel Conference Facilities, 11 W. Mount Royal Street, Baltimore, MD. You are also invited to participate in the Public Scoping Meeting to be held on the same date and in the same location from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Public Scoping Meetings will be an open house format with a presentation by the FRA at 5:30 p.m. Additional information about the nine Public Scoping Meetings, including dates, times, locations and directions, is available on the website, necfuture.com.

We hope that you, or your designated alternate, will be able to participate in this Agency Scoping process to ensure that your office's mission, expertise, and priorities are reflected in FRA's planning process.

Please let us know if you can attend, or if you would like to send an alternate to attend. To confirm your participation, please contact the NEC FUTURE team via email at by August 9th.

More information about the project is available on the website, necfuture.com. It is possible to comment through the website as well. The scoping comment period will extend until September 14th.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
<Signature>
Rebecca Reyes-Alicea
NEC Project Manager
USDOT, Federal Railroad Administration

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