National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
In October 2017, SEPTA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for KOP Rail to the public and stakeholders. The DEIS, required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), evaluated various alternatives for a new rail connection between the existing Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) and destinations in King of Prussia, including documenting potential impacts to the natural, cultural and social environment.
Project Scoping sets the stage for the types of alternatives that will be evaluated in the DEIS, which is the first step in
the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) process to secure federal funding for construction of the project. Scoping is considered
a "formal" step in the environmental review process. During Scoping, the sponsoring agency (in this case, SEPTA and the FTA)
determine the purpose and the need
for the project in order to identify the types of transportation alternatives that should be
considered for evaluation. SEPTA began the Project Scoping phase in the fall of 2012.
Tiered Alternatives Screening:
The ability of an alternative to meet the project purpose and need while minimizing
environmental impacts is determined by examining a wide range of issues. The process requires us to find the best overall alternative,
while striving to balance the benefits and impacts as much as possible. As more data is gathered and design advances,
the level of detail and analysis increases. To accommodate this increase, the alternatives analysis is divided into different stages
or “tiers.” This tiered evaluation
allows SEPTA to either modify or eliminate certain alternatives as the work proceeds.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS):
An EIS is a written statement containing an assessment of the anticipated
effects – both positive and negative – a proposed alternative may have upon the environment (natural, social or cultural). The
Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) will be thoroughly analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in order to meet the
National Environmental Policy Act requirements for environmental approval. This is a critical step and enables the project to
move forward into engineering design and eventual construction.
Identification of Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA)
Adopt LPA into regional long range plan
Summary of public and agency comments and responses
Record of Decision
Refinement of Financial Plan
Application to FTA for New Starts Federal Grant program