Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT)

Southeast High Speed Rail Project Announces Draft Recommended Rail Alternatives

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) are releasing for public review the Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) Tier II Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Draft Recommendation Report via DRPT's website www.drpt.virginia.gov and the SEHSR website www.sehsr.org.

The Draft Recommendation Report identifies the two states' recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for the preferred rail alternative for each of the 26 sections of the SEHSR corridor between Richmond, Va., and Raleigh, N.C. (R2R).

The draft report identifies rail alignment alternative recommendations that will be put forth by DRPT and NCDOT Rail Division to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Draft recommendations are based on public comments received on the Draft EIS, which was published in May of 2010 and presented to the public in a series of meetings along the corridor in Virginia and North Carolina. Other inputs include assessment of community and environmental impacts, constructability and costs. The recommendation report will be presented to the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) for approval in March 2012. Once adopted by Virginia and North Carolina, the final Recommendation Report will be transmitted to FRA for evaluation.

Draft Rail Recommendation Report comments will be accepted until March 9, 2012. Comments can be submitted electronically to: drptpr@drpt.virginia.gov .

The public can also submit comments by mail to: SEHSR Comments, Public Information Office, DRPT, 600 E. Main Street, Suite 2102, Richmond, VA 23219.

Once approved by FRA, the preferred alternatives will be presented in the forthcoming Tier II Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), anticipated to be published in early 2013, followed by a Record of Decision (ROD) from FRA and a second round of public hearings.

The 162-mile Richmond to Raleigh segment of SEHSR is an integral part the overall Washington, D.C. to Charlotte rail corridor. Existing rail lines and rail rights of way will be used as much as possible to accommodate recommended improvements. The project will reduce traffic congestion, increase safety along the train corridor and serve long-distance business and leisure travelers between and beyond Virginia and North Carolina.

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