WSP, in joint venture, participated in an integrated team with the FRA to develop and inventory the long-term growth plans of all NEC stakeholders and to explore various service and infrastructure alternatives to achieve them. This included analyzing market and service options, new technologies and types of service, development of new models for analyzing travel demand and capital and operating costs, and extensive testing of rail service plans.
As alternatives were narrowed, the team undertook an extensive tier 1 environmental impact statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. This entailed extensive engagement with federal and state agencies and planning organizations across the Northeast, as well as an agreement with each state historic preservation office. The Preferred Alternative will be announced at the end of 2016 as part of the tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement, with a Record of Decision to follow in 2017.
The NEC FUTURE team will then develop a Service Development Plan that makes the case for implementing the Selected Alternative and recommends ways to expeditiously implement the program. NEC FUTURE will serve as the blueprint for corridor development and expansion for the next several decades.