The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has released a finding of no significant impact on the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative, which allows the states and federal government to invest in future passenger rail services.

The new initiative focuses on restoring rail service between Boston and New Haven through Springfield and Hartford, as well as adding a new service between Boston and Montreal.

US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said: “Existing passenger rail service through New England is limited and already at capacity for a region that is growing.

“With an approved blueprint in hand, New England can now move forward to connect people to key job centres and allow students to easily travel to and from New England’s numerous colleges.”

FRA has awarded $942,775 to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) in the US through FRA’s Next Generation High-Speed Rail Programme.

"For everyone to move safely and efficiently, the region needs a robust rail system and this blueprint will help achieve that goal."

The grant has been awarded to assess potential service options and complete the Tier One Environmental Assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

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FRA administrator Sarah Feinberg said: “More than two million people live within three miles of a station along this corridor.

“For everyone to move safely and efficiently, the region needs a robust rail system and this blueprint will help achieve that goal.”

MassDOT and VTrans will coordinate the initiative with other projects that includes Northeast Corridor (NEC) Future.

The collaboration of the new initiative and NEC Future will help enhance connectivity to central Connecticut, Massachusetts, northern New England, and Montreal.


Image: The recommended service and stations along the Northern New England Intercity Rail network. Photo: courtesy of Transportation.gov.