[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 109 (Tuesday, June 8, 1999)]
[Pages 30558-30560]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-14483]



Federal Transit Administration

Major Investment Study/Draft Environmental Impact Statement on 
the Metro-North Hudson Line Extension Project, Dutchess County, NY

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a major investment study/draft 
environmental impact statement (MIS/DEIS).


SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Metro-North 
Commuter Railroad Company (Metro-North) intend to prepare a Major 
Investment Study/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (MIS/DEIS) for 
the Metro-North Hudson Line Extension Project in Dutchess County, New 
York. The MIS/DEIS is being prepared in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 as amended, and as implemented 
by the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500-
1508), and the Federal Transit Administration/Federal Highway 
Administration Environmental Impact regulations (23 CFR Parts 771), and 
the FTA/FHWA Statewide Planning/Metropolitan Planning regulations (23 
CFR Part 450, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as 
amended, Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, 
as amended (49 U.S.C. 303, 23 U.S.C. 138), the requirements of the 1990 
Clean Air Act Amendments, the Executive Order 12898 on Environmental 
Justice, and other applicable rules, regulations,

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Executive Orders and guidance documents.
    Metro-North is preparing this MIS/DEIS to address the potential 
social, economic and environmental impacts of extending its Hudson Line 
from the existing northern terminus at Poughkeepsie to either 
Rhinecliff or Tivoli (approximately 15 and 25 miles respectively) and 
constructing three or four stations and parking facilities at Hyde 
Park, Staatsburg, Rhinecliff and Tivoli, as well as a rail yard and 
employee base facility. This project would expand regional mobility and 
accommodate the growing demand for commuter rail service to Northern 
Dutchess County.
    The MIS/DEIS will evaluate the following transportation 
alternatives: No-Build, Transportation System Management (TSM) and 
several Build Alternatives. Scoping will be accomplished through 
correspondence with interested persons and organizations, as well as 
with federal, state and local agencies, and through a public meeting. 

DATES: Comment Due Date: Written comments on the scope of alternatives 
and impacts to be considered should be sent to Metro-North by Monday, 
July 12, 1999. See ADDRESSES below.

Scoping Meeting

    The public scoping meetings will be held on Tuesday, June 29th at 7 
p.m. and Wednesday, June 30th at 7 p.m. Registration to speak at these 
meetings will commence at 6:30 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. on the date of 
the meeting. See ADDRESSES below. People with special needs should 
contact Ms. Robyn Hollander at Metro-North at the address below or by 
calling (212) 672-1242. The building is accessible to people with 
disabilities. A sign language interpreter will be available upon 
request in advance of the meeting.
    The scoping meeting will begin with an ``open house'' where 
attendees will be able to view graphics and discuss the project with 
project representatives. A presentation on the project will be given, 
followed by an opportunity for comments. Scoping material will be 
available at the meeting and in advance of the meeting by contacting 
Ms. Robyn Hollander at the address and phone number below. In addition 
to oral and written comments, which may be made at the meeting or as 
described below, a stenographer will be available at the meeting to 
record comments.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the project scope should be sent to Ms. 
Robyn M. Hollander, Project Manager, Metro-North Railroad, 420 
Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10017, (212) 672-1242. The scoping 
meetings will be held on Tuesday June 29, 1999 at 7:00 p.m. at 
Roosevelt High School Auditorium, Hyde Park Central School District, 
South Cross Road, Hyde Park, New York and on Wednesday, June 30, 1999 
at 7:00 p.m. at Rhinebeck Town Hall, 80 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, 
New York.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Nancy Danzig, Community Planner, 
Federal Transit Administration, Region II, One Bowling Green, Room 429, 
New York, NY 10004-1415, (212) 668-2170. If you wish to be placed on 
the mailing list to receive further information as the project 
develops, contact Ms. Hollander at the above address or phone number as 
described above.


I. Scoping

    The FTA and Metro-North invite interested individuals, 
organizations, and federal, state and local agencies to participate in 
developing the alternatives to be evaluated in the MIS/DEIS, and 
identifying any potential significant social, economic, or 
environmental issues related to the alternatives. Scoping comments may 
be made at the public scoping meeting or in writing. See DATES and 
ADDRESSES sections above. During scoping, comments should focus on 
identifying specific social, economic, or environmental impacts to be 
evaluated and suggesting alternatives which are more cost effective or 
have less environmental impacts while achieving similar transit 
objectives. Scoping materials will be available at the meeting or in 
advance of the meeting by contacting Robyn Hollander at Metro-North as 
indicated above.

II. Description of Study and Project Need

    The proposed project consists of an extension of the Metro-North 
Hudson Line from the existing northern terminus at Poughkeepsie, 
Dutchess County, NY to a new station and terminus to be located at 
either Rhinecliff in the Town of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, NY or 
Tivoli in the Village of Tivoli, Dutchess County, NY, a distance of 15 
and 25 miles, respectively, using the existing double-track line (which 
is owned by CSX and is currently being used by Amtrak to provide inter-
city rail service). The project includes the construction of three or 
four stations with parking facilities and a rail yard and employee base 
    Historically, the Upper Hudson line segment, including stations at 
Cortlandt, Peekskill, Garrison, Cold Spring, Beacon, New Hamburg and 
Poughkeepsie, has been one of Metro-North's fastest growing line 
segments. From 1984-1997, ridership on this line segment increased from 
1.4 million to 3.2 million annual trips, a growth rate of 131% (about 
7% annually). This increase in ridership is the result of several 
factors, including vastly improved service, more trains, new coaches 
and locomotives, decreased travel times, improved stations and expanded 
parking. These improvements have attracted commuters to the system who 
live beyond the current terminus of Poughkeepsie and west of the Hudson 
    Extending the Hudson Line north from its current terminus in 
Poughkeepsie, and the construction of appropriate facilities, are 
intended to expand service to residents of northern Dutchess County, 
benefit those living in the Mid-Hudson Region, and improve regional air 
quality goals by providing an alternative to the single occupant 

III. Alternatives

    The transportation alternatives proposed for consideration in this 
project area include: (1) A No-Build Alternative which involves the 
current infrastructure of highways, parking facilities, train and bus 
service, and maintenance facilities in addition to all ongoing, 
committed and funded roadway and transit projects outlined in the State 
Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Transit projects include 
modifications of current train and bus service but propose a minimum 
level of service expansion. (2) Transportation System Management, which 
includes all elements of the No-Build Alternative in addition to 
roadway and traffic improvements and improved transit services 
reflecting a number of local route modifications in addition to new and 
express routes. The TSM Alternative provides the baseline against which 
the cost-effectiveness of major capital transit investments can be 
evaluated. (3) Build Alternatives which include an extension of the 
existing Metro-North line from Poughkeepsie northward to either 
Rhinecliff, in the Town of Rhinebeck or Tivoli, in the Village of 
Tivoli (including station locations and support facilities), following 
the existing rail line. The Build Alternatives may be comprised of more 
than one ``Build Alternative'' which would differ in the number of 
stations and terminus location.

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IV. Probable Effects

    The FTA and Metro-North will evaluate all potential significant 
environmental, social, and economic impacts of the alternatives 
analyzed in the MIS/DEIS. Environmental and social impacts proposed for 
analysis include: land use, secondary development, community 
disruption, displacements and relocations, traffic and parking, visual, 
noise and vibration, safety, aesthetics, stormwater management, 
archaeological, historic, cultural and ecological resources and 
wildlife corridors. Impacts on natural areas, rare and endangered 
species, air and water quality, groundwater, and potentially 
contaminated sites will also be studied. The impacts will be evaluated 
both for the construction period and for the long-term period of 
operation of each alternative. Measures to mitigate adverse impacts 
will be identified.

V. FTA Procedures

    The DEIS will be prepared in conjunction with a major 
transportation investment study and document the results of that study, 
including an evaluation of the potential social, economic and 
environmental impacts of the alternatives. Upon completion of the MIS/
DEIS, and on the basis of the comments received, Metro-North, in 
concert with other affected agencies, will select a locally preferred 
alternative. The MIS/DEIS will be made available for public review and 
comment and a public hearing will be held during the MIS/DEIS comment 
    On the basis of the MIS/DEIS and comments received, Metro-North and 
FTA will continue with the preparation of the Final MIS/DEIS. 
Opportunity for additional public comment will be provided throughout 
all phases of project development.

    Issued on: June 3, 1999.
Letitia Thompson,
Regional Administrator, TRO-II, Federal Transit Administration.
[FR Doc. 99-14483 Filed 6-7-99; 8:45 am]