To the Editor:
On December 16, 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released its Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) concerning NEC Future – the proposed plan to shorten the travel time between Washington, D.C. and Boston via high-speed rail. The FRA’s plan includes building a tunnel under the Connecticut River and Old Lyme and significantly altering routes to straighten out the tracks between Old Saybrook and Kenyon, Rhode Island. This plan will have devastating impacts on the environment, as well as potential damage to some of our historic buildings and our home and commercial values.
A strategy team was convened by Bonnie Reemsnyder, our First Selectwoman, to build the case for why the proposal included in the Final Tier 1 EIS is an unacceptable option. After many weeks of research with some the country’s leading authorities on the environment, estuary, threatened species, acoustics, vibration and other issues, this team submitted the below-referenced 82-page response to the FRA on February 14, 2017.
We are totally supportive of infrastructure improvements that will support safe and efficient rail service, but those can and should be achieved without the dramatic route changes proposed in this EIS. Please consider sending your own comments to the FRA immediately. The FRA noted that it “will consider feedback received on the Tier 1 Final EIS in developing the Record of Decision (ROD). The FRA will accept and review feedback on the NEC FUTURE Tier 1 Final EIS until the publication of the ROD, which is not anticipated prior to March 1, 2017”.
U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration
One Bowling Green Suite 429
New York, NY 10004
It is likely that comments received after March 1st will not be considered so please act quickly!
Jack Collins, on Behalf of the Old Lyme NEC Future Strategy Team,
Editor’s Note: The author was a member of the Old Lyme NEC Future Strategy Team.