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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Southeast High-Speed Rail DC to Richmond

Environmental Impact Statement

FRA, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), prepared a Tier II Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 123-mile portion of the Southeast High-Speed Rail (SEHSR) Corridor from Washington, DC to Richmond, VA (referred to as the DC2RVA Project). The environmental study area began at the southern terminus of the Long Bridge over the Potomac River in Arlington, VA and continues south through Richmond, VA to Centralia, VA at the CSXT A-Line/CSXT S-Line junction. The Tier II EIS for the DC2RVA Project involved further analysis to define the preferred alignment and infrastructure required to expand intercity passenger train service for the portion of the SEHSR Corridor from Washington, DC to Richmond, VA. This Tier II EIS is based on the route and service characteristics selected through the 2002 Tier I EIS and Record of Decision for the SEHSR Corridor between Washington, DC and Charlotte, NC.

This Tier II environmental process had four basic goals:

(1) Update and confirm the purpose and need as established in the Tier I EIS for the Washington, DC to Richmond, VA portion of the SEHSR Corridor;

(2) Develop site-specific rail alternatives, generally for the placement of a third track and other improvements along the corridor;

(3) Conduct a detailed evaluation of environmental impacts for the alternatives; and

(4) Select a preferred alternative.

The SEHSR Corridor, one of 11 Federal high-speed passenger rail corridors, was designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in 1992 as running from Washington, DC through Richmond, VA and Raleigh, NC to Charlotte, NC. It is part of an overall plan to extend intercity passenger rail service from the Northeast Corridor (Boston, MA to Washington, DC) to points in the Southeast. In 1995, DOT extended the SEHSR Corridor to Hampton Roads, VA. In 1998, DOT created two more extensions: 1) from Charlotte through Spartanburg and Greenville, SC to Atlanta, GA and on through Macon, GA to Jacksonville, FL; and 2) from Raleigh through Columbia, SC and Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL and from Atlanta to Birmingham, AL.

A “tiered” approach was adopted for the SEHSR environmental studies because of the length of the corridor. The SEHSR Tier I EIS and Record of Decision covered the entire Washington, DC to Charlotte, NC corridor at a program level, establishing the overall project purpose and need and modal alternative along with the preferred corridor. FRA has advanced several Tier II environmental documents under this Tier I EIS that examine the various segments of the preferred corridor on a more detailed, local level. FRA completed a separate Tier II EIS for the Richmond to Raleigh portion of the SEHSR Corridor in March 2017. The Tier II EIS for the DC2RVA Project that is the subject of this web page examines the Washington, DC to Richmond, VA portion of the SEHSR Corridor.

Additional information on the DC2RVA Project is available on DRPT’s project website.

Environmental Documents

On October 23, 2014, FRA published in the Federal Register a notice of intent to prepare the Tier II EIS for the DC2RVA Project. The notice described the environmental process and detailed the scoping that would take place.

On September 8, 2017, FRA published in the Federal Register the Tier II Draft EIS for the DC2RVA Project in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). During this period, DRPT and FRA held four public meetings in Virginia: one each in Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Ashland, and Richmond. FRA accepted public comments on the Draft EIS for 60 days.

On May 31, 2019, FRA published in the Federal Register the Tier II Final EIS. The Tier II Final EIS provides responses to comments received on the Tier II Draft EIS and addresses compliance under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966, and Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. The Tier II Final EIS defines FRA’s Preferred Alternative for the DC2RVA Project.

On September 5, 2019, FRA published on its website the Tier II Record of Decision (ROD) for the DC2RVA project. The ROD marks the end of the NEPA process by identifying FRA’s decision, i.e., the Selected Alternative, as well as the incremental approach to implementing the infrastructure and service improvements of the Selected Alternative—including completing design, obtaining permits and regulatory approvals, and implementing mitigation on an incremental basis. The ROD also discusses all factors that were considered in making this decision and summarizes comments received during the 30-day waiting period following the publication of the Tier II Final EIS and provides responses to those comments.

The Draft and Final EIS files as well as the ROD can be accessed via the drop-down menu below.