Northern Branch Corridor Project > About
About the Project - Purpose & Need - Alternatives - Agency's Preferred Alternative

About the Project

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and NJ TRANSIT are studying the restoration of rail passenger service on the Northern Branch Corridor between North Bergen and Englewood or Tenafly, NJ. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared under the direction of the FTA, in conformance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), and all NEPA requirements.

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Purpose & Need

The purpose of the Northern Branch Corridor Project is to address the transportation needs of eastern Bergen County, NJ through the re-introduction of rail transit service. The provision of new transportation service in the Northern Branch Corridor would address:

  • Commuting to employment centers along the corridor, as well as to employment centers in other areas of New Jersey;
  • Commuting to New York City from Bergen County; and
  • Non-work trips to business, shopping, recreational, and educational destinations throughout the region

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The range of preliminary alternatives identified in the Scoping Document include:

  • No Action Alternative
  • Diesel-Multiple-Unit (DMU) Vehicle Alternatives
    • Terminus at Hudson Avenue in Tenafly or
    • Terminus at NJ Route 4 in Englewood
  • Electric Light Rail Vehicle Alternatives
    • Terminus at Hudson Avenue in Tenafly or
    • Terminus at NJ Route 4 in Englewood
Although the DMU alternatives were identified in the Scoping Document they have subsequently been screened out and have not been studied in the DEIS.

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Agency's Preferred Alternative

In accordance with 40 CFR 1502.14(e), NJ TRANSIT has identified Light Rail to Tenafly as the Agency's Preferred Alternative for restoration of passenger rail service on the Northern Branch Corridor. While the Agency's Preferred Alternative is identified, the DEIS includes the analysis of environmental impacts related to other alternatives including a second mode (Diesel-Multiple-Units) and a second northern terminus (Englewood Route 4).

Although the Light Rail alternative will be slightly more costly to construct, NJ TRANSIT believes that this alternative will be the fastest most prudent way to provide passenger rail service to Bergen County residents. The analysis included in the DEIS forecasts that the extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Tenafly will attract 24,000 passenger trips daily by the year 2030.

Directly related to the ridership is a reduction in vehicle miles traveled within the study area. The DEIS analysis shows that the Preferred Alternative will result in a reduction of 108,600 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) each day. This reduction in VMT facilitates NJ TRANSIT's strategy to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals set forth in the Governor's Executive Order 54 which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent of 2006 levels by 2050.

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