ALBANY, NY (03/11/2014)(readMedia)-- The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) will hold an open house and public hearing in Poughkeepsie on Wednesday, March 12, regarding plans for improving passenger and freight rail service on the Empire Corridor between New York City and Niagara Falls. The event will be held at the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center at 12 Vassar Street. It will begin with an informational open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by a public hearing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The sessions will provide opportunities for the public to comment on the proposals, either privately or during the open hearing forum.

The meeting, the last of six held this month across the state, will focus on the High Speed Rail Empire Corridor Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which has been approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Updates about ongoing passenger rail projects also will be provided. Project managers and technical experts will be available to answer questions throughout each session. The meetings are sponsored by NYSDOT and the FRA, which are conducting the environmental review.

The DEIS examines the feasibility of higher speed passenger rail service alternatives along the 463-mile Empire Corridor, looking at how five potential alternatives would impact mobility, the environment and economic growth across New York State. The public is encouraged to review the DEIS at

Public comments on the DEIS are due by Monday, March 24. Comments may be provided verbally or in writing at the hearings. Comments also may be submitted by emailing, or using the public comment page of the project website at Comments also may be mailed to Project Manager David Chan, New York State Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12232.