NYSDOT Extends Public Comment Period On High Speed Rail Plans

Comments on Draft Environmental Impact Statement Accepted through April 30

ALBANY, NY (03/21/2014)(readMedia)-- New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald today announced the extension of the public comment period on the High Speed Rail Empire Corridor Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which outlines plans for improving passenger and freight rail service on the Empire Corridor between New York City and Niagara Falls. Public comments will be accepted through Wednesday, April 30.

"The community is critically important in helping us plan for effective transportation improvements, and we're pleased that this proposal is generating so much interest," Commissioner McDonald said. "By extending the public comment period, we're making it even easier for the public to have its say about expanding high speed passenger rail service to the Empire Corridor west of Albany and enhancing service south of Albany, improvements that will create jobs, support tourism and economic development, and make our environment cleaner."

The public comment period was extended in response to community requests. It was scheduled to close Monday, March 24. It started on January 31, when the DEIS was published in the Federal Register.

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. Information about the project, including a copy of the DEIS, is available on the NYSDOT website at https://www.dot.ny.gov/empire-corridor and on the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) website at http://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0679.

Earlier this month, more than 500 people attended six public hearings held across the state about the proposals. NYSDOT and the FRA, which are conducting the environmental review, sponsored the meetings. Informational open houses and hearings were held between March 4 and March 12 in Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, Utica and Poughkeepsie. More than 250 people already have submitted comments.

Comments may be submitted on the project website, or emailed to empirecorridor@dot.ny.gov with the subject line ''Draft EIS.'' Comments also may be mailed to David Chan, Project Manager, New York State Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road, Pod #61, Albany, NY 12232.