On Friday, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman responded to the announcement from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the U.S. Department of Transportation that a pilot program would be established to expedite environmental review of the Northeast Corridor’s (NEC) high-speed rail projects.
The CEQ and USDOT will work with stakeholders to identify efficiencies to speed the environmental review process, which will help determine possible service types and station locations in the NEC. The pilot program calls for involving federal, state and local governments, as well as the public, earlier in the environmental review process to set benchmarks that maintain “rigorous” environmental protections, while also saving time and money by avoiding conflicts and delays in later project-development steps, according to the CEQ and USDOT.
“The decision to expedite the federal environmental review process for NEC high-speed rail projects is great news for all users of the NEC who are seeking increased passenger-rail capacity, mobility and connectivity in the region,” said Boardman in a prepared statement. “A faster review process will help speed along Amtrak’s efforts to rebuild and improve today’s corridor and advance Amtrak’s vision to develop a new high-capacity, 220 mph NextGen high-speed rail system serving the region, including our Gateway program to bring more track, tunnel and station capacity into the heart of Manhattan.”
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