New Hampshire Capitol Corridor Project
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) received a grant for the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor Rail Planning Study (the Study), which included an Environmental Assessment (EA), under the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program. The purpose of the Study was to identify and implement an intercity passenger rail investment strategy that would:
- Best leverage the existing transportation infrastructure to improve connectivity to and from Boston, MA, the region’s largest economic hub.
- Diversify options and reduce the primarily single-mode reliance on roadways for the movement of people and goods.
- Support mobility options that match emerging demographic trends and preferences in the corridor.
- Maintain the region’s high quality-of-life through strategic infrastructure investments.
The Study resulted in options for introducing intercity passenger rail service evaluated in the EA between Boston and Concord, NH, over existing transportation infrastructure, namely the portion of the New Hampshire Mail Line owned by Pan Am Railways, which is currently used for freight rail only.
Service Development Plan
The Study included preparation of a Service Development Plan (SDP) and accompanying environmental analysis, and was developed by a team of transportation planning, engineering, and environmental experts from FRA, NHDOT, and their respective consultants. The SDP was approved on November 11, 2014.
A service-level EA was prepared by NHDOT in coordination with FRA. The EA was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et. seq.; its implementing regulations, 40 Code of Federal Regulations 1500-1508; and FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts, 64 Federal Register (FR) 28545 (May 26, 1999) and 78 FR 2713 (January 14, 2013). The EA was approved on May 5, 2015.
Finding of No Significant Impact
A Finding of No Significant Impact was approved July 23, 2015.