The graphic below illustrates the process and schedule for the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In order to seek federal funding for increasing the daily number of high-speed rail round trips along the corridor, the study's final EIS was submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in October 2012; a Record of Decision (ROD) was issued December 2012.
Early 2011: Scoping and Purpose & Need —The project is intended to address the constraints of current rail infrastructure, which limit passenger service expansion between Chicago and St. Louis. During this initial period, existing and planned developments in the corridor were identified.
Spring - Fall 2011: Preliminary Alternatives — The development of a range of alternatives included an evaluation of new alignments between Chicago and Joliet, through Springfield, and into St. Louis, as well as consideration of additional tracks, additional grade crossing treatments, station improvements, and potential new stations.
Fall 2011 - Spring 2012: Alternatives Analysis —Evaluation of the preliminary alternatives was based on: 1) the ability to accomplish the Purpose and Need for Action; 2) project cost; 3) the comparison of social, economic, and environmental factors; and 4) input from resource agencies and the public.
Summer 2012: Draft EIS — Identification of the preferred alternative(s) was conducted in consideration of public review and comment.
Fall - Winter 2012: Final EIS & Record of Decision (ROD) — The final EIS addressed all substantive issues raised during the public comment period. It was submitted to the FRA in October 2012. A ROD was issued in December 2012.