On Thursday, February 11, 2016, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) signed the combined Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD) for the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit (D-O LRT) Project. This marks a very important milestone in the life of the project, as it concludes the environmental review phase under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The primary purpose of the combined FEIS/ROD is to respond to substantive comments received during the public comment period. Responses are in the form of factual corrections, clarifications, and references to sections of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) or DEIS errata where issues raised are addressed. The ROD states the decision of the FTA, identifies the alternatives considered in reaching the decision, and states the means to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts. Mitigation plans, including any enforcement and monitoring commitments, are included in the ROD.
The combined FEIS/ROD, including the appendices, is now available for public review on the D-O LRT Project website: http://ourtransitfuture.com/projects/durham-orange/feis-rod/ and on the GoTriangle website: http://gotriangle.org/feis-rod. It will be published in the Federal Register later this month.
The proposed D-O LRT Project consists of a 17-mile light rail project (with 17 stations and a Rail Operations Maintenance Facility or ROMF) extending from southwest Chapel Hill to eastern Durham that would serve several educational, medical, and other key activity centers.
What is a combined FEIS/ROD?
FEIS stands for Final Environmental Impact Statement. It is a document required for major projects that use federal funding. A ROD is a Record of Decision; this document states the final decision of the lead federal agency about the project and explains the mitigation commitments made by the agencies.
Why is this such an important step?
The D-O LRT Project is one of the first transit projects in the nation to complete the environmental review process within the accelerated two-year timeframe established under recent changes to federal transportation law.
What does that mean?
It indicates that the FTA found that the D-O LRT Project met all applicable NEPA requirements.
What does this mean for me?
If you provided a substantive comment on the DEIS, a response to your comment is included in the FEIS.
What does this mean for the D-O LRT Project going forward?
GoTriangle begins engineering work to advance project design.
Where can I find out more information?
To learn more about the D-O LRT Project, visit the project page at: http://ourtransitfuture.com/feis-rod/.