BREAKING NEWS – December 16th, 2016

Long Island, NY

The federal government is no longer advocating for the creation of new high-speed railways that would cross Long Island.

As highlighted by the release of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Northeast Corridor Future project, the agency has instead opted for a preferred alternative that seeks to upgrade existing infrastructure along the corridor, putting plans for Long Island on hold, for now.

“The Preferred Alternative improves the existing NEC and incorporates new segments that, together, expand capacity to grow the role of rail and have the greatest potential for operational benefit while minimizing environment effects,” the FEIS states.

“The Preferred Alternative does not include new segments between NYC and Long Island and Long Island and Connecticut via the Long Island Sound or a new Segment via Central Connecticut, as proposed in Alternative 3. The Preferred Alternative does not include a separate second spine, as proposed in Alternative 3,” the FRA notes within the document.

The original proposal’s Alternative 3, the option that would have used Long Island as a viable option for increased rail service to New England, would have run high-speed trains straight through the heart of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The proposal included a submerged trench for the new railways in Garden City, as well as elevated rails in Stony Brook.

Instead, the FRA is recommending a “Preferred Alternative” for the NEC Future project that includes bringing the corridor up to the task of meeting current and future demands by focusing investment on the existing NEC, improving reliability by bringing it to a state of good repair, and eliminating chokepoints that cause delays. The FRA proposal will add new tracks that will grow the NEC to four tracks at most locations.

Dr. Lee Koppelman, who served 28 years as the first Suffolk County Planner and 41 years as the regional planner for Nassau and Suffolk, and has been the executive director of the Center for Regional Policy Studies at Stony Brook University, said at the time that the project made “no sense economically for the region, especially Nassau and Suffolk Counties, considering that we have more pressing priorities that have been around for the last half century that we haven’t been able to build.”

Koppelman noted to the Press that Alternative 3 amounted to “top-of-the head type of scheming.” The FRA is preparing next steps towards the implementation of this project, which has been planned since 2012.

You can read the entire FEIS on the FRA’s website here.

You can read previous coverage of the NEC Future project from The Foggiest Idea, CBS New York, and the Long Island Press here, and public comment on the project here.

Pictured: A map highlighting the new “Preferred Alternative” of the NEC Future project. (Source – The Federal Railroad Administration)