Environmental Impact Statement for the Long Island Rail Road Main Line Corridor Improvements, Long Island, NY, 24161-24163 [05-9034]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 87 / Friday, May 6, 2005 / Notices Day would impose a substantial economic hardship on its members that operate fireworks for the public. This period is the busiest time of the year for these companies. APA members are engaged to stage multiple shows in celebration of Independence Day, during a compressed timeframe. The drivers that would be covered by the exemption are trained pyrotechnicians, each holding a commercial drivers’ license (CDL) with a hazardous materials endorsement. These drivers transport fireworks and equipment to remote locations to meet demanding schedules. APA indicated that under the hours-of-service requirements in effect prior to January 4, 2004, the pyrotechnicians could meet their schedules without exceeding the limits, and without experiencing any crashes or hazardous materials incidents. By contrast, under the new regulations, the pyrotechnicians would be unable to meet typical holiday schedules, and fireworks companies would be forced to hire a second driver for most trips. Or, fireworks companies would be forced to decrease significantly their engagements. APA argues both options are economically detrimental for its members, and would deny many Americans the primary component of their Independence Day celebration. Request for Comments In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA is requesting public comment from all interested persons on the APA application for exemption from 49 CFR 395.3(a)(2). All comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated at the beginning of this notice will be considered and will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed under the address section of this notice. Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable. In addition to late comments, the FMCSA will also continue to file, in the public docket, relevant information that becomes available after the comment closing date. Interested persons should continue to examine the public docket for new material. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315; and 49 CFR 1.73. Issued on: April 28, 2005. Annette M. Sandberg, Administrator. [FR Doc. 05–9148 Filed 5–5–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P VerDate jul<14>2003 18:03 May 05, 2005 Jkt 205001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration Environmental Impact Statement for the Long Island Rail Road Main Line Corridor Improvements, Long Island, NY Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The FTA, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a proposal to make LIRR Main Line Corridor improvements between Queens Village and Hicksville in Queens and Nassau Counties New York. The FTA is the lead federal agency under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The project is being conducted by LIRR, the project sponsor. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with NEPA and the applicable regulations for implementing NEPA, as set forth in 23 CFR part 771 and 40 CFR parts 1500–1508, as well as applicable laws and regulations, including Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, the Clean Air Act, and Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. As sponsor of the proposed project, the LIRR will ensure that the EIS and the environmental review process will also satisfy the requirements of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The Proposed Action would consist of the addition of a new third track to the existing two track configuration between the Queens Interlocking in Queens County and the Divide Interlocking in Nassau County, with crossover service to the Oyster Bay Branch east of the Mineola Station. The Proposed Action may include modification or additions of: Crossovers, interlockings, sidings, bridges (over/ undergrade bridges, viaducts, and culverts), signal systems (signal brides, signal huts, signals, control towers), communications, substations, and retaining walls. Modifications to existing stations may be required such as changes to station buildings, parking, shelters/waiting rooms, platform placement and amenities such as the addition of elevators at stations. Up to five (5) roadway grade crossings will be considered for separation and/or closure. Property acquisitions may be necessary to accommodate the Proposed Action, as well as utility relocations PO 00000 Frm 00201 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24161 (including but not limited to: Electric, signal, communications, gas, water, sewer, and storm systems). The EIS will evaluate a No Action Alternative and various Build Alternatives, and any additional alternatives generated by the scoping process. Scoping will be accomplished through meetings and correspondence with interested persons, organizations, and Federal, State, regional, and local agencies. DATES: The public is invited to participate in project scoping on June 14th, 16th, and 21st 2005 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the locations identified under the ADDRESSES below to ensure that all significant issues are identified and considered. Presentation boards depicting the project concept will be available for review at the meeting locations. Formal presentations by the LIRR regarding the project will be made at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., each followed by the opportunity for the public to make comments on the scope of the EIS. LIRR representatives will be available for informal questions and comments throughout the duration of each scoping meeting. Those wishing to speak are requested to register at the meeting location upon arrival. However, additional speakers will be invited until there are no other speakers requesting to be heard. Subsequent opportunities for public involvement will be announced on the Internet, by mail, and through other appropriate mechanisms, and will be conducted throughout the study area. Additional project information may be obtained from the MTA Web site: http://www.mta.info (click ‘‘Inside the MTA’’ then ‘‘Planning Studies,’’ and ‘‘LIRR Main Line Corridor Improvements’’). Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be sent to Mr. Peter Palamaro, the LIRR Public Affairs Representative by August 31, 2005 at the address given under ADDRESSES below. ADDRESSES: The public scoping meetings will be held: • Tuesday, June 14, 2005, at Jericho Terrace—249 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola, NY 11501; • Thursday, June 16, 2005, at Floral Terrace—250 Jericho Turnpike, Floral Park, NY 11001; and • Tuesday, June 21, 2005, at Antuns Hicksville—244 West Old Country Road, Hicksville, NY 11801. The scoping meeting sites are accessible to mobility-impaired people and interpreter services will be provided for hearing-impaired people upon request. Written comments will be taken at the meeting or may be sent to E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1 24162 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 87 / Friday, May 6, 2005 / Notices the following address at any time during the scoping period, which is thru August 31, 2005: Mr. Peter Palamaro, Long Island Rail Road Company, Jamaica Station, Jamaica, New York 11435. The scoping packet may also be requested by writing to this address or by calling (718) 558–7934. Requests to be placed on the project mailing list may also be made by calling this number or by writing to the project address above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Nancy Danzig, Community Planner, Federal Transit Administration, (212) 668–2180. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Scoping FTA and the LIRR invite interested individuals, organizations, and Federal, State, and local agencies to provide comments on the scope of the Main Line Corridor Improvements EIS. During the scoping process, comments should focus on specific social, economic, or environmental issues to be evaluated, and on suggesting alternative that may be less costly or have fewer environmental impacts while achieving similar transportation objectives. To assist interested parties in formulating their comments, a scoping information packet has been prepared and is available on the MTA Web site address noted above, or upon request from the LIRR representative identified above. The scoping information packet includes the project’s purpose and need, a preliminary list of alternative, and environmental issues that will be addressed during the course of the study. An online of the on-going public participation program is also contained in the information packet and on the Internet site given above. II. Description of the Project Area The MTA Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, carrying an average of 274,000 customers each weekday on 730 daily trains. The LIRR system includes 11 rail lines stretching from Montauk—on the eastern tip of Long Island—to the refurbished Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan, approximately 120 miles away. Along the way, the LIRR serves 124 rail stations in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, providing service for some 81 million customers each year. The project area includes approximately 11.5 miles of the LIRR Main Line between Queens Village and Hicksville encompassing the following nine stations: Queens Village, Bellerose, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Merillon VerDate jul<14>2003 18:03 May 05, 2005 Jkt 205001 Avenue, Mineola, Carle Place, Westbury, and Hicksville. The project corridor is highly developed with primarily residential and commercial land use adjacent to the Main Line and surrounding areas. The section of the Main Line that represents the project corridor carries trains from five separate branches of the LIRR: Oyster Bay, Hempstead, Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma, and Montauk. A total of eight roadway grade crossings exist within the project corridor. The Main Line Corridor Improvement initiative will evaluate the potential for five of the eight roadway grade crossings to be separated and/or closed as part of the future design of Main Line improvements. The remaining three are being addressed through a partnership of: New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), MTA/LIRR, Nassau County and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The five roadway grade crossing being considered for separation and/or closure include: • Covert Avenue in New Hyde Park; • 12th Street in New Hyde Park; • New Hyde Park Road in New Hyde Park; • School Street in New Cassel; and • Urban Avenue in New Cassel. III. Problem Identification The LIRR is expecting a significant increase in its service levels by the year 2030. This increase is a result of a number of factors including the forecast of ridership growth, desire to increase reverse peak and intra-island service opportunities, desire to further reduce non-revenue car miles, and planned future service growth to Manhattan terminals. Main Line Corridor improvements would allow express service between Jamaica and Hicksville during rush hours and provide the capacity necessary to accommodate reverse commuter service. Roadway grade crossings throughout the project corridor cause substantial traffic delays that reduce roadway level of service and present safety concerns. Roadway grade crossings also require train horn soundings that increase ambient noise for adjacent noisesensitive receptors. IV. Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action The purpose of the proposed Main Line Corridor Improvements, particularly the addition of a new third track, is to provide additional capacity for the railroad, provide operational flexibility, reduce severe congestion during peak travel periods, allow for PO 00000 Frm 00202 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 sufficiently frequent reverse and intraisland commuting service to draw riders out of their automobiles, and accommodate anticipated service growth throughout the LIRR system. The addition of a third track will also improve on-time performance within the corridor, particularly during peak periods. The need for the proposed improvements is detailed in the LIRR’s Long Term Operations and Maintenance Strategy Report of 1999 and LIRR’s Network Strategy Study of 1994. Specific needs associated with the limiting aspects of the existing Main Line configuration include: • Limited peak-direction train movement because of the necessity to operate reverse-peak direction trains; • Limited ability to expand reverse peak service to Mineola and Hicksville and to other Long Island centers of employment; and • Constrained future growth of the LIRR system within the LIRR service territory. V. Alternatives The EIS will evaluate alternatives and options for the Proposed Action which will: (1) Provide feasible, cost effective and beneficial transit improvements that enhance connections to the existing transportation system and Long Island land uses; (2) meet the anticipated increase in transit use on the LIRR, (3) enhance Long Island and the region’s economic vitality and quality of life. Alternatives to be evaluated will include: • No Action Alternative. This alternative provides for minor improvements, repairs, and other maintenance actions to the existing LIRR system between Queens Village and Hicksville currently planned or programmed. • Build Alternatives. Addition of a new third track to the existing two track configuration, roadway grade crossing improvements, and station area improvements will be grouped into a set of specific Build Alternatives. Each distinct Build Alternative will be evaluated against the No Action Alternative, and other Build Alternatives to determine the advantages and disadvantages of each. Build Alternatives may include elements of phasing. For example, a first phase might include construction of the portion of alignment from Queens Village to Mineola and a second phase might complete construction from Mineola to Hicksville. Although compatible with and contributing to the functionality of the overall improvements, some elements of E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 87 / Friday, May 6, 2005 / Notices the Build Alternatives such as station rehabilitation elements or roadway grade crossing elements are functionally independent of the other elements of the Proposed Action. Although the current plan is to evaluate all of the elements in the EIS, as the project elements are developed and as schedules and construction phasing plans develop, it is possible that some of the independent elements may be advanced via separate environmental evaluations under NEPA. VI. Potential Effects Upon completion, the proposed Main Line Corridor improvements are anticipated to eliminate existing deficiencies in LIRR service noted above and generate positive impacts for Long Island residents, businesses, workers, and visitors. Impacts that may occur as a result of the improvements will be evaluated in the EIS. The LIRR has identified several areas of concern, including: Property acquisition, historic and archaeological resources, parks and Section 4(f) properties, traffic and grade-crossings, noise and vibration, water quality, wetlands, and threatened and endangered species. Potential construction-related impacts associated with the construction phase include noise, vibration, business disruption, impacts on pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and air quality. The EIS will describe the methodology used to assess impacts; identify the affected environment; and identify opportunities and measures for mitigating adverse impacts. Principles of environmental construction management, resource protection and mitigation measures, and the LIRR Sustainable Design/Design for Environment—Generic Guidelines (March 2003), developed pursuant to New York State Executive Order No. 111 ‘‘Green and Clean,’’ will be considered for incorporation into the Build Alternatives. VII. FTA Procedures During the NEPA process, FTA will also comply with the requirements of Section 106, National Historic Preservation Act, Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 303), the Clean Air Act, and other applicable Federal and State environmental statutes, rules, and regulations, in accordance with FTA procedures. Through the NEPA scoping process and as project development advances, it will be determined whether certain elements of the Full Build Alternative should be advanced independently or in combination with other elements, or be VerDate jul<14>2003 18:03 May 05, 2005 Jkt 205001 deferred for evaluation at a future time, in order to meet the transportation needs of Long Island with minimal impact and in a timely manner. A Draft EIS will be prepared and made available for public and agency review and comment. One or more public hearings will be held on the Draft EIS. On the basis of the Draft EIS and the public and agency comments thereon, a preferred alternative will be selected and will be fully described and further developed in the Final EIS. Issued on: April 29, 2005. Letitia Thompson, Regional Administrator, Region II. [FR Doc. 05–9034 Filed 5–5–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–57–M DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Reports, Forms and Recordkeeping Requirements Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: SUMMARY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this notice announces that the Information Collection Request (ICR) abstracted below has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICR describes the nature of the information collections and their expected burden. The Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period was published on June 16, 2004 at Vol. 69, No. 115, p. 33693–94. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before June 6, 2005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Long at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Recall Management Division, NVS–215, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, phone (202) 366–6281. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Title: Dealer Notification of Defects and Noncompliances. OMB Number: 2127–0004. Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection adding new requirements. Abstract: These are new amendments to regulations that require manufacturers of motor vehicles and items of vehicle equipment conducting recalls to (1) add information about the PO 00000 Frm 00203 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24163 manufacturer’s intended schedule for dealer notification to the manufacturer’s notifications to NHTSA of defects and noncompliances that are already provided pursuant to 49 CFR 573, and (2) include certain specified language in the notifications that they send to their dealers and distributors pursuant to 49 CFR 577. In addition, vehicle manufacturers will now be required to maintain for a period of 5 years a list of its dealers and distributors that they have notified (69 FR 33693–33694). Affected Public: All manufacturers of motor vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment that conduct safety recalls. Estimated Total Annual Burden: 19,974 hours for manufacturers of motor vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment. ADDRESSES: Send comments, within 30 days, to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725–17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attention NHTSA Desk Officer. Comments are invited on: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the Departments estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. A comment to OMB is most effective if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Kathleen C. DeMeter, Director, Office of Defects Investigation. [FR Doc. 05–9122 Filed 5–5–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board [STB Finance Docket No. 34676] Penn Eastern Holdings, Inc.—Control Exemption—East Penn Railways, Inc. and Penn Eastern Rail Lines, Inc. Penn Eastern Holdings, Inc. (PEH), a newly established noncarrier holding company, has filed a verified notice of exemption to acquire control through stock ownership of East Penn Railways, Inc. (East Penn) and Penn Eastern Rail Lines, Inc. (Penn Eastern), both Class III rail carriers. East Penn and Penn Eastern E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 87 (Friday, May 6, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24161-24163]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-9034]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Environmental Impact Statement for the Long Island Rail Road Main 
Line Corridor Improvements, Long Island, NY

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FTA, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Transportation 
Authority (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), will prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a proposal to make LIRR Main 
Line Corridor improvements between Queens Village and Hicksville in 
Queens and Nassau Counties New York.
    The FTA is the lead federal agency under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The project is being conducted by LIRR, the 
project sponsor. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with NEPA and 
the applicable regulations for implementing NEPA, as set forth in 23 
CFR part 771 and 40 CFR parts 1500-1508, as well as applicable laws and 
regulations, including Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation 
Act of 1966, the Clean Air Act, and Executive Order 12898 on 
Environmental Justice. As sponsor of the proposed project, the LIRR 
will ensure that the EIS and the environmental review process will also 
satisfy the requirements of the New York State Environmental Quality 
Review Act (SEQRA).
    The Proposed Action would consist of the addition of a new third 
track to the existing two track configuration between the Queens 
Interlocking in Queens County and the Divide Interlocking in Nassau 
County, with crossover service to the Oyster Bay Branch east of the 
Mineola Station. The Proposed Action may include modification or 
additions of: Crossovers, interlockings, sidings, bridges (over/
undergrade bridges, viaducts, and culverts), signal systems (signal 
brides, signal huts, signals, control towers), communications, 
substations, and retaining walls. Modifications to existing stations 
may be required such as changes to station buildings, parking, 
shelters/waiting rooms, platform placement and amenities such as the 
addition of elevators at stations. Up to five (5) roadway grade 
crossings will be considered for separation and/or closure. Property 
acquisitions may be necessary to accommodate the Proposed Action, as 
well as utility relocations (including but not limited to: Electric, 
signal, communications, gas, water, sewer, and storm systems).
    The EIS will evaluate a No Action Alternative and various Build 
Alternatives, and any additional alternatives generated by the scoping 
process. Scoping will be accomplished through meetings and 
correspondence with interested persons, organizations, and Federal, 
State, regional, and local agencies.

DATES: The public is invited to participate in project scoping on June 
14th, 16th, and 21st 2005 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 
p.m. at the locations identified under the ADDRESSES below to ensure 
that all significant issues are identified and considered. Presentation 
boards depicting the project concept will be available for review at 
the meeting locations. Formal presentations by the LIRR regarding the 
project will be made at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., each followed by the 
opportunity for the public to make comments on the scope of the EIS. 
LIRR representatives will be available for informal questions and 
comments throughout the duration of each scoping meeting. Those wishing 
to speak are requested to register at the meeting location upon 
arrival. However, additional speakers will be invited until there are 
no other speakers requesting to be heard. Subsequent opportunities for 
public involvement will be announced on the Internet, by mail, and 
through other appropriate mechanisms, and will be conducted throughout 
the study area. Additional project information may be obtained from the 
MTA Web site: http://www.mta.info (click ``Inside the MTA'' then 
``Planning Studies,'' and ``LIRR Main Line Corridor Improvements''). 
Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be sent to Mr. Peter 
Palamaro, the LIRR Public Affairs Representative by August 31, 2005 at 
the address given under ADDRESSES below.

ADDRESSES: The public scoping meetings will be held:
     Tuesday, June 14, 2005, at Jericho Terrace--249 Jericho 
Turnpike, Mineola, NY 11501;
     Thursday, June 16, 2005, at Floral Terrace--250 Jericho 
Turnpike, Floral Park, NY 11001; and
     Tuesday, June 21, 2005, at Antuns Hicksville--244 West Old 
Country Road, Hicksville, NY 11801.
    The scoping meeting sites are accessible to mobility-impaired 
people and interpreter services will be provided for hearing-impaired 
people upon request. Written comments will be taken at the meeting or 
may be sent to

[[Page 24162]]

the following address at any time during the scoping period, which is 
thru August 31, 2005: Mr. Peter Palamaro, Long Island Rail Road 
Company, Jamaica Station, Jamaica, New York 11435. The scoping packet 
may also be requested by writing to this address or by calling (718) 
558-7934. Requests to be placed on the project mailing list may also be 
made by calling this number or by writing to the project address above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Nancy Danzig, Community Planner, 
Federal Transit Administration, (212) 668-2180.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Scoping

    FTA and the LIRR invite interested individuals, organizations, and 
Federal, State, and local agencies to provide comments on the scope of 
the Main Line Corridor Improvements EIS. During the scoping process, 
comments should focus on specific social, economic, or environmental 
issues to be evaluated, and on suggesting alternative that may be less 
costly or have fewer environmental impacts while achieving similar 
transportation objectives. To assist interested parties in formulating 
their comments, a scoping information packet has been prepared and is 
available on the MTA Web site address noted above, or upon request from 
the LIRR representative identified above. The scoping information 
packet includes the project's purpose and need, a preliminary list of 
alternative, and environmental issues that will be addressed during the 
course of the study. An online of the on-going public participation 
program is also contained in the information packet and on the Internet 
site given above.

II. Description of the Project Area

    The MTA Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad in 
North America, carrying an average of 274,000 customers each weekday on 
730 daily trains. The LIRR system includes 11 rail lines stretching 
from Montauk--on the eastern tip of Long Island--to the refurbished 
Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan, approximately 120 miles away. 
Along the way, the LIRR serves 124 rail stations in Nassau, Suffolk, 
Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, providing service for some 81 million 
customers each year.
    The project area includes approximately 11.5 miles of the LIRR Main 
Line between Queens Village and Hicksville encompassing the following 
nine stations: Queens Village, Bellerose, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, 
Merillon Avenue, Mineola, Carle Place, Westbury, and Hicksville.
    The project corridor is highly developed with primarily residential 
and commercial land use adjacent to the Main Line and surrounding 
areas. The section of the Main Line that represents the project 
corridor carries trains from five separate branches of the LIRR: Oyster 
Bay, Hempstead, Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma, and Montauk.
    A total of eight roadway grade crossings exist within the project 
corridor. The Main Line Corridor Improvement initiative will evaluate 
the potential for five of the eight roadway grade crossings to be 
separated and/or closed as part of the future design of Main Line 
improvements. The remaining three are being addressed through a 
partnership of: New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), 
MTA/LIRR, Nassau County and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). 
The five roadway grade crossing being considered for separation and/or 
closure include:
     Covert Avenue in New Hyde Park;
     12th Street in New Hyde Park;
     New Hyde Park Road in New Hyde Park;
     School Street in New Cassel; and
     Urban Avenue in New Cassel.

III. Problem Identification

    The LIRR is expecting a significant increase in its service levels 
by the year 2030. This increase is a result of a number of factors 
including the forecast of ridership growth, desire to increase reverse 
peak and intra-island service opportunities, desire to further reduce 
non-revenue car miles, and planned future service growth to Manhattan 
terminals. Main Line Corridor improvements would allow express service 
between Jamaica and Hicksville during rush hours and provide the 
capacity necessary to accommodate reverse commuter service.
    Roadway grade crossings throughout the project corridor cause 
substantial traffic delays that reduce roadway level of service and 
present safety concerns. Roadway grade crossings also require train 
horn soundings that increase ambient noise for adjacent noise-sensitive 
receptors.

IV. Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action

    The purpose of the proposed Main Line Corridor Improvements, 
particularly the addition of a new third track, is to provide 
additional capacity for the railroad, provide operational flexibility, 
reduce severe congestion during peak travel periods, allow for 
sufficiently frequent reverse and intra-island commuting service to 
draw riders out of their automobiles, and accommodate anticipated 
service growth throughout the LIRR system. The addition of a third 
track will also improve on-time performance within the corridor, 
particularly during peak periods.
    The need for the proposed improvements is detailed in the LIRR's 
Long Term Operations and Maintenance Strategy Report of 1999 and LIRR's 
Network Strategy Study of 1994. Specific needs associated with the 
limiting aspects of the existing Main Line configuration include:
     Limited peak-direction train movement because of the 
necessity to operate reverse-peak direction trains;
     Limited ability to expand reverse peak service to Mineola 
and Hicksville and to other Long Island centers of employment; and
     Constrained future growth of the LIRR system within the 
LIRR service territory.

V. Alternatives

    The EIS will evaluate alternatives and options for the Proposed 
Action which will: (1) Provide feasible, cost effective and beneficial 
transit improvements that enhance connections to the existing 
transportation system and Long Island land uses; (2) meet the 
anticipated increase in transit use on the LIRR, (3) enhance Long 
Island and the region's economic vitality and quality of life. 
Alternatives to be evaluated will include:
     No Action Alternative. This alternative provides for minor 
improvements, repairs, and other maintenance actions to the existing 
LIRR system between Queens Village and Hicksville currently planned or 
programmed.
     Build Alternatives. Addition of a new third track to the 
existing two track configuration, roadway grade crossing improvements, 
and station area improvements will be grouped into a set of specific 
Build Alternatives. Each distinct Build Alternative will be evaluated 
against the No Action Alternative, and other Build Alternatives to 
determine the advantages and disadvantages of each. Build Alternatives 
may include elements of phasing. For example, a first phase might 
include construction of the portion of alignment from Queens Village to 
Mineola and a second phase might complete construction from Mineola to 
Hicksville.
    Although compatible with and contributing to the functionality of 
the overall improvements, some elements of

[[Page 24163]]

the Build Alternatives such as station rehabilitation elements or 
roadway grade crossing elements are functionally independent of the 
other elements of the Proposed Action. Although the current plan is to 
evaluate all of the elements in the EIS, as the project elements are 
developed and as schedules and construction phasing plans develop, it 
is possible that some of the independent elements may be advanced via 
separate environmental evaluations under NEPA.

VI. Potential Effects

    Upon completion, the proposed Main Line Corridor improvements are 
anticipated to eliminate existing deficiencies in LIRR service noted 
above and generate positive impacts for Long Island residents, 
businesses, workers, and visitors.
    Impacts that may occur as a result of the improvements will be 
evaluated in the EIS. The LIRR has identified several areas of concern, 
including: Property acquisition, historic and archaeological resources, 
parks and Section 4(f) properties, traffic and grade-crossings, noise 
and vibration, water quality, wetlands, and threatened and endangered 
species. Potential construction-related impacts associated with the 
construction phase include noise, vibration, business disruption, 
impacts on pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and air quality.
    The EIS will describe the methodology used to assess impacts; 
identify the affected environment; and identify opportunities and 
measures for mitigating adverse impacts. Principles of environmental 
construction management, resource protection and mitigation measures, 
and the LIRR Sustainable Design/Design for Environment--Generic 
Guidelines (March 2003), developed pursuant to New York State Executive 
Order No. 111 ``Green and Clean,'' will be considered for incorporation 
into the Build Alternatives.

VII. FTA Procedures

    During the NEPA process, FTA will also comply with the requirements 
of Section 106, National Historic Preservation Act, Section 4(f) of the 
Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 303), the Clean Air Act, 
and other applicable Federal and State environmental statutes, rules, 
and regulations, in accordance with FTA procedures.
    Through the NEPA scoping process and as project development 
advances, it will be determined whether certain elements of the Full 
Build Alternative should be advanced independently or in combination 
with other elements, or be deferred for evaluation at a future time, in 
order to meet the transportation needs of Long Island with minimal 
impact and in a timely manner.
    A Draft EIS will be prepared and made available for public and 
agency review and comment. One or more public hearings will be held on 
the Draft EIS. On the basis of the Draft EIS and the public and agency 
comments thereon, a preferred alternative will be selected and will be 
fully described and further developed in the Final EIS.

    Issued on: April 29, 2005.
Letitia Thompson,
Regional Administrator, Region II.
[FR Doc. 05-9034 Filed 5-5-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-M