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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

Empire Corridor

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (2014)

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in cooperation with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), prepared a Tier I Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate proposed system improvements to intercity passenger rail services along the 463-mile Empire Corridor, connecting Pennsylvania (Penn) Station in New York City with Niagara Falls Station in Niagara Falls, New York (Project).  

A Draft EIS (DEIS) was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and its implementing regulations (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 1500-1508); FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 Federal Register [FR] 28545); and the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) and its implementing regulations (6 New York Codes, Rules and Regulations [NYCRR] Part 617).

FRA and NYSDOT completed the Tier I DEIS in January 2014. Six public hearings statewide presented the Tier 1 DEIS and solicited public comments.

Final Environmental Impact Statement (2023)

FRA signed the Tier I Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on February 2, 2023.  Notice of Availability appeared in the Federal Register on February 17, 2023.

The FEIS incorporates consideration of public and agency comments received on the 2014 DEIS and reflects necessary corrections and/or changes. 

Record of Decision (2023)

FRA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Empire Corridor project on March 30, 2023. The ROD summarizes the environmental review process FRA conducted in accordance with NEPA and FRA’s 1999 Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts. The ROD identifies the alternatives considered by FRA, addresses comments received during the NEPA process, and identifies the Selected Alternative. The ROD also includes a list of all measures to avoid and minimize environmental harm, including a monitoring and enforcement program to ensure adherence to these measures. Finally, the ROD presents the FRA decision, determinations, and findings regarding the Project, and identifies the factors that FRA considered in making its decision. Tier II environmental analyses under NEPA will commence as future actions are identified and assessed, or as appropriate. 

More Information

For more information on the Empire Corridor Project, please visit NYSDOT’s website or contact Brandon Bratcher, FRA Environmental Protection Specialist at

Brandon Bratcher
Environmental Protection Specialist
Federal Railroad Administration, RRD-32
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
West Building – Mail Stop 20
Washington, DC 20590 

Permitting Dashboard

The U.S. Permitting Dashboard is an online tool for Federal agencies, project sponsors, and interested members of the public to track the Federal government’s environmental review and authorization processes for large or complex infrastructure projects. The Dashboard is part of a government-wide effort to improve coordination, transparency, and accountability. A link to this project’s page on the Dashboard is below.