Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Transit Improvements in the Regional Connector Transit Corridor, Los Angeles, CA, 12445-12447 [E9-6421]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 55 / Tuesday, March 24, 2009 / Notices received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477–78). Issued in Washington, DC on March 18, 2009. Grady C. Cothen, Jr., Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety Standards and Program Development. [FR Doc. E9–6400 Filed 3–23–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Transit Improvements in the Regional Connector Transit Corridor, Los Angeles, CA AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, DOT. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project in Los Angeles County, California. LACMTA operates the Metro transit system in Los Angeles County. The proposed project would provide a direct link connecting several light rail service lines in operation or in construction through downtown Los Angeles, CA. The project area lies entirely within the City of Los Angeles and is within the densely developed downtown core that includes multi-family residences, industrial and public lands, commercial and retail establishments, government office buildings, and private high-rise office towers. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its implementing regulations. LACMTA will also use the EIS document to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The purpose of this notice is to alert interested parties regarding the intent to prepare the EIS, to provide information on the nature of the proposed project and possible alternatives, to invite VerDate Nov<24>2008 01:06 Mar 24, 2009 Jkt 217001 public participation in the EIS process (including providing comments on the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), to announce that public scoping meetings will be conducted, and to identify participating and cooperating agency contacts. DATES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS, including the project’s purpose and need, the alternatives to be considered, the impacts to be evaluated, and the methodologies to be used in the evaluations should be sent to LACMTA on or before May 11, 2009 at the address below. See ADDRESSES below for the address to which written public comments may be sent. Public scoping meetings to accept comments on the scope of the EIS/EIR will be held on the following dates: • Monday, March 30, 2009; 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.; at the University of Southern California (USC), Alumni Room, Davidson Conference Center, 3415 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007. • Tuesday, March 31, 2009; 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; at the Lake Avenue Church, 393 N Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. • Wednesday, April 1, 2009; 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), 369 E 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. • Thursday, April 2, 2009; Noon to 1:30 p.m.; at the Los Angeles Central Library, Board Room, 630 W 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071. The project’s purpose and need and the description of alternatives for the proposed project will be presented at these meetings. The buildings used for the scoping meetings are accessible to persons with disabilities. Any individual who requires special assistance, such as a sign language interpreter, to participate in the scoping meeting should contact Ms. Ann Kerman, Community Relations Manager, LACMTA, at (213) 922–7671, or kermana@metro.net. Scoping materials will be available at the meetings and on the LACMTA Web site (http://www.metro.net/ regionalconnector). Paper copies of the scoping materials may also be obtained from Ms. Ann Kerman, Community Relations Manager, LACMTA, at (213) 922–7671, or kermana@metro.net. An interagency scoping meeting will be held on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. at LACMTA, in the Gateway Plaza Room, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Representatives of Native American tribal governments and of all Federal, State, regional and local agencies that may have an interest in any aspect of the project will be invited to be participating or cooperating agencies, as appropriate. PO 00000 Frm 00143 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12445 ADDRESSES: Comments will be accepted at the public scoping meetings or they may be sent to Ms. Dolores Roybal Saltarelli, AICP, Project Manager, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, One Gateway Plaza, Mail Stop? Los Angeles, CA 90012, or via e-mail at roybald@metro.net. The locations of the public scoping meetings are given above under DATES. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Ray Tellis, Team Leader, Los Angeles Metropolitan Office, Federal Transit Administration, 888 South Figueroa Street, Suite 1850, Los Angeles, CA 90017, phone (213) 202–3950, e-mail ray.tellis@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Scoping The FTA and LACMTA invite all interested individuals and organizations, public agencies, and Native American Tribes to comment on the scope of the EIS, including the project’s purpose and need, the alternatives to be studied, the impacts to be evaluated, and the evaluation methods to be used. Comments should focus on: Alternatives that may be less costly or have less environmental or community impacts while achieving similar transportation objectives, and the identification of any significant social, economic, or environmental issues relating to the alternatives. Project Initiation The FTA and LACMTA will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the Regional Connector Transit Corridor pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 139 and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). LACMTA is serving as the local lead agency for purposes of CEQA environmental clearance, and FTA is serving as the federal lead agency for purposes of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental clearance. This notice shall alert interested parties to the preparation of the EIS/EIR, describe the alternatives under consideration, invite public participation in the EIS/EIR process, and announce the public scoping meetings. FTA and LACMTA will invite interested Federal, State, tribal, regional and local government agencies to be participating agencies under the provisions of section 6002 of SAFETEA–LU. Purpose and Need for the Project The purpose of this project is to improve the region’s public transit service and mobility. The overall goal of E:\FR\FM\24MRN1.SGM 24MRN1 12446 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 55 / Tuesday, March 24, 2009 / Notices mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES the project is to improve mobility within the corridor by connecting to the light rail service of the Metro Gold Line to Pasadena, the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension, the Metro Blue Line, and the Metro Expo Line. This link would serve communities across the region, allowing greater accessibility while serving population and employment growth in downtown Los Angeles. Mobility issues throughout the region and the identified need to join the unconnected segments of the light rail system have been documented in several past studies, including the Pasadena—Los Angeles Light Rail Transit Project Environmental Impact Report (1993), the Blue Line Connection Preliminary Planning Study (1993), and the Regional Light Rail Connector Study (2004). Additional considerations supporting the need for the Regional Connector Transit Corridor project include: Increased travel times and station overcrowding occurring due to multiple transfers required to traverse the project area; a project area that has many transit dependent residents; poor system connectivity that results in reduced system schedule reliability as current system expansions are completed; and investments within the project area could improve system-wide operations in regards to travel times and safety issues. Project Location and Environmental Setting The proposed light rail transit (LRT) project lies entirely within the City of Los Angeles and is generally bounded by U.S. Highway 101 on the north, 7th and 9th Streets on the south, Alameda Street on the east, and State Route 110 on the west. Project length is just under two miles and the LRT alternatives would have up to four stations plus ancillary facilities including power substations. The project area is the largest regional employment center in Los Angeles County, and is densely developed with multi-family residences, industrial and public lands, commercial and retail establishments, government office buildings, and private high-rise office towers. The proposed Regional Connector project would provide a direct link connecting several light rail service lines in operation or in construction (i.e., the Metro Gold Line to Pasadena, the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension, the Metro Blue Line, and the Metro Expo Line). The proposed project would create a connection in downtown Los Angeles that would link the Metro Blue and Expo Lines termini at 7th Street/ Metro Center Station (7th Street and VerDate Nov<24>2008 01:06 Mar 24, 2009 Jkt 217001 Flower Street) to the Metro Gold Line (Pasadena and Eastside) at the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station at 1st Street and Alameda Street. This connection would provide through service between the Metro Blue Line to Long Beach, the Metro Gold Line to Pasadena and East Los Angeles, and the Metro Expo Line to Culver City. With the implementation of the Regional Connector project, these four lines would share tracks and stations in downtown Los Angeles. The various alternatives to be considered for the Regional Connector project generally traverse Flower Street north from 7th Street, 2nd Street between Flower and Alameda, Main and Los Angeles Streets between Temple Street and 2nd Street, Temple Street between City Hall and Alameda Street, and Alameda Street between U.S. Highway 101 and 2nd Street. Alternatives The Regional Connector Transit Corridor Final Alternatives Analysis Report (2009) prepared by LACMTA identified four alternatives for further consideration in the EIS/EIR. The four alternatives include: A No-Build Alternative, Transportation System Management (TSM) Alternative, AtGrade Emphasis LRT Alternative, and Underground Emphasis LRT Alternative. No-Build Alternative: The No Build Alternative would maintain existing transit service through the year 2030. No new transportation infrastructure would be built within the project area aside from projects currently under construction, or funded for construction and operation by 2030 by recently approved Measure R sales tax. Bus transit service under the No Build Alternative would be focused on the preservation of existing services and projects. By the projection year of 2030, some bus service would have been reorganized and expanded to provide connections with the new rail lines; however, the transit network within the project area would largely be the same as it is now. Transportation Systems Management (TSM) Alternative: The TSM Alternative would include the provisions of the No Build Alternative and add two shuttle bus routes from 7th Street/Metro Center station to Union Station providing a link between the region’s unconnected LRT services, one along Grand Ave. and 1st St., and one along Figueroa, Flower, 2nd, and 3rd Streets. The shuttle buses would use existing bus-only lanes, where available, and would be fitted with transit-priority signalization devices similar to those used on Metro Rapid. Stops would be located every PO 00000 Frm 00144 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 few blocks so as to provide full coverage of the area. Each shuttle route would be one and one-half to two miles in length. At-Grade Emphasis LRT Alternative: This alternative would extend from the underground 7th Street/Metro Center Station, head north under Flower Street, surface to at-grade north of 5th Street, cross 3rd Street, enter Bunker Hill, and turn northeast through a new entrance to the existing 2nd Street tunnel. The alignment would continue along 2nd Street where it would split into an atgrade couplet configuration on Main and Los Angeles Streets (one track on each roadway) to Temple Street. Then it would head east on Temple Street and realign into a dual track configuration just north of the Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District Station on Alameda Street. Due to the high volume of trains that would traverse the Regional Connector, an automobile underpass and pedestrian overpass would be constructed at the intersection of Temple and Alameda Streets to eliminate pedestrian-train and automobile-train conflicts. There are two options for the configuration on Flower Street. For Option A, trains would transition to underground tracks after crossing 3rd Street and continue to a new underground station just south of 5th Street, then proceed to the 7th Street/ Metro Center Station and arrive at the existing Metro Blue Line platform. For Option B, trains would arrive at an atgrade station after crossing 3rd Street, then transition to underground tracks near 4th Street to reach the existing Metro Blue Line platform at 7th Street/ Metro Center station. In total, the AtGrade Emphasis LRT Alternative would add 1.8 miles of new double track to the light rail system. In addition to the Option A and Option B Station configurations, other station locations would include a station adjacent to Bunker Hill, south of 2nd Street and Hope Street, and a split station using Main and Los Angeles Streets between 1st and Temple Streets. A fourth optional station on 2nd Street between Broadway and Los Angeles Street will be analyzed. Underground Emphasis LRT Alternative: From the 7th Street/Metro Center Station, this alternative would extend north along Flower Street with a new underground station north of 5th Street. At 2nd Street, the underground tunnel would extend east with new underground stations to provide access to Bunker Hill and to the area between Los Angeles Street and Broadway. The tunnel would emerge to at-grade connections just southwest of the intersection of 1st and Alameda Streets. E:\FR\FM\24MRN1.SGM 24MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 55 / Tuesday, March 24, 2009 / Notices At 1st and Alameda Streets, a new underpass would carry car and truck traffic along Alameda Street below the rail junction, and a new overhead pedestrian bridge structure would eliminate most conflicts between pedestrians and trains. This Alternative would have a single at-grade crossing at the intersection of 1st and Alameda Streets. The rest of the route would be underground. The length of this proposed route would be 1.6 miles. Station locations for this alternative would all be underground and include the area north of 5th Street on Flower Street, adjacent to Bunker Hill just south of 2nd Street and 2nd Street between Los Angeles and Main Streets. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Probable Effects The purpose of this EIS/EIR process is to study, in a public setting, the effects of the proposed project and its alternatives on the physical, human, and natural environment. The FTA and LACMTA will evaluate all significant environmental, social, and economic impacts of the construction and operation of the proposed project. Impact areas to be addressed include: transportation, land use, zoning and economic development, secondary development, land acquisition, displacements and relocations, cultural resources (including historical, archaeological, and paleontological resources), parklands/recreational facilities, neighborhood compatibility and environmental justice, visual and aesthetic impacts, natural resources (including air quality, noise and vibration, wetlands, water resources, geology/soils, and hazardous materials), energy use, safety and security, wildlife, and ecosystems. Measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse impacts will be identified and evaluated. FTA Procedures The regulations implementing NEPA, as well as provisions of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU), call for public involvement in the EIS process. Section 6002 of SAFETEA–LU requires that FTA and LACMTA do the following: (1) Extend an invitation to other Federal and non-Federal agencies and Native American tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project to become ‘‘participating agencies;’’ (2) provide an opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public to help define the purpose and need for a proposed project, as well as the range of alternatives for consideration in the EIS; and (3) establish a plan for coordinating public and agency VerDate Nov<24>2008 01:06 Mar 24, 2009 Jkt 217001 participation in, and comment on, the environmental review process. An invitation to become a participating or cooperating agency, with scoping materials appended, will be extended to other Federal and non-Federal agencies and Native American tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project. It is possible that FTA and LACMTA will not be able to identify all Federal and non-Federal agencies and Native American tribes that may have such an interest. Any Federal or non-Federal agency or Native American tribe interested in the proposed project that does not receive an invitation to become a participating agency should notify at the earliest opportunity the Project Manager identified above under ADDRESSES. A comprehensive public involvement program and a Coordination Plan for public and interagency involvement will be developed for the project and posted on LACMTA’s Web site (Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project Web page: http:// www.metro.net/regionalconnector). The public involvement program includes a full range of activities including the project Web page on the LACMTA Web site, development and distribution of project newsletters, and outreach to local officials, community and civic groups, and the public. Specific activities or events for involvement will be detailed in the public involvement program. LACMTA may seek New Starts funding for the proposed project under 49 United States Code 5309 and will, therefore, be subject to New Starts regulations (49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 611). The New Starts regulations also require the submission of certain projectjustification information to support a request to initiate preliminary engineering. This information is normally developed in conjunction with the NEPA process. Pertinent New Starts evaluation criteria will be included in the EIS. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with NEPA and its implementing regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500–1508) and with the FTA/Federal Highway Administration regulations ‘‘Environmental Impact and Related Procedures’’ (23 CFR part 771). In accordance with 23 CFR 771.105(a) and 771.133, FTA will comply with all Federal environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders applicable to the proposed project during the environmental review process to the maximum extent practicable. These requirements PO 00000 Frm 00145 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12447 include, but are not limited to, the environmental and public hearing provisions of Federal transit laws (49 U.S.C. 5301(e), 5323(b), and 5324); the project-level air quality conformity regulation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (40 CFR part 93); the section 404(b)(1) guidelines of EPA (40 CFR part 230); the regulation implementing section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (36 CFR part 800); the regulation implementing section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (50 CFR part 402); section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act (23 CFR 771.135); and Executive Orders 12898 on environmental justice, 11988 on floodplain management, and 11990 on wetlands. Issued on: March 19, 2009. Leslie T. Rogers, Regional Administrator, Region IX, Federal Transit Administration. [FR Doc. E9–6421 Filed 3–23–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–57–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration Solicitation of Comments and Notice of Availability of Fiscal Year 2009 Funding for Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction Grants AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, DOT. ACTION: Interim notice of funding availability, request for comments. SUMMARY: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) appropriated $100 million for a new discretionary grant program for public transportation projects that reduce a transit system’s greenhouse gas emissions or result in a decrease in a transit system’s energy use. Because of time limitations in ARRA funding, this notice announces the availability of the new grant program, application requirements, and deadlines for submitting grant proposals for funding. However, because the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program is a new grant program, FTA also is accepting comments on the program’s provisions and may alter some of the requirements in response to comments. DATES: Comments must be received by April 7, 2009. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable. Complete proposals for the TIGGER Grant Program must be submitted by May 22, 2009. E:\FR\FM\24MRN1.SGM 24MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 55 (Tuesday, March 24, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12445-12447]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-6421]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed 
Transit Improvements in the Regional Connector Transit Corridor, Los 
Angeles, CA

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, DOT.

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

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Los Angeles 
County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) intends to 
prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Regional 
Connector Transit Corridor Project in Los Angeles County, California. 
LACMTA operates the Metro transit system in Los Angeles County. The 
proposed project would provide a direct link connecting several light 
rail service lines in operation or in construction through downtown Los 
Angeles, CA.
    The project area lies entirely within the City of Los Angeles and 
is within the densely developed downtown core that includes multi-
family residences, industrial and public lands, commercial and retail 
establishments, government office buildings, and private high-rise 
office towers.
    The EIS will be prepared in accordance with the requirements of the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its implementing 
regulations. LACMTA will also use the EIS document to comply with the 
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires an 
Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The purpose of this notice is to 
alert interested parties regarding the intent to prepare the EIS, to 
provide information on the nature of the proposed project and possible 
alternatives, to invite public participation in the EIS process 
(including providing comments on the scope of the Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (DEIS), to announce that public scoping meetings will 
be conducted, and to identify participating and cooperating agency 
contacts.

DATES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS, including the 
project's purpose and need, the alternatives to be considered, the 
impacts to be evaluated, and the methodologies to be used in the 
evaluations should be sent to LACMTA on or before May 11, 2009 at the 
address below. See ADDRESSES below for the address to which written 
public comments may be sent. Public scoping meetings to accept comments 
on the scope of the EIS/EIR will be held on the following dates:
     Monday, March 30, 2009; 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.; at the 
University of Southern California (USC), Alumni Room, Davidson 
Conference Center, 3415 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007.
     Tuesday, March 31, 2009; 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; at the Lake 
Avenue Church, 393 N Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.
     Wednesday, April 1, 2009; 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; at the 
Japanese American National Museum (JANM), 369 E 1st Street, Los 
Angeles, CA 90012.
     Thursday, April 2, 2009; Noon to 1:30 p.m.; at the Los 
Angeles Central Library, Board Room, 630 W 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 
90071.
    The project's purpose and need and the description of alternatives 
for the proposed project will be presented at these meetings. The 
buildings used for the scoping meetings are accessible to persons with 
disabilities. Any individual who requires special assistance, such as a 
sign language interpreter, to participate in the scoping meeting should 
contact Ms. Ann Kerman, Community Relations Manager, LACMTA, at (213) 
922-7671, or kermana@metro.net.
    Scoping materials will be available at the meetings and on the 
LACMTA Web site (http://www.metro.net/regionalconnector). Paper copies 
of the scoping materials may also be obtained from Ms. Ann Kerman, 
Community Relations Manager, LACMTA, at (213) 922-7671, or 
kermana@metro.net. An interagency scoping meeting will be held on 
Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. at LACMTA, in the Gateway Plaza 
Room, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Representatives of 
Native American tribal governments and of all Federal, State, regional 
and local agencies that may have an interest in any aspect of the 
project will be invited to be participating or cooperating agencies, as 
appropriate.

ADDRESSES: Comments will be accepted at the public scoping meetings or 
they may be sent to Ms. Dolores Roybal Saltarelli, AICP, Project 
Manager, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, One 
Gateway Plaza, Mail Stop? Los Angeles, CA 90012, or via e-mail at 
roybald@metro.net. The locations of the public scoping meetings are 
given above under DATES.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Ray Tellis, Team Leader, Los 
Angeles Metropolitan Office, Federal Transit Administration, 888 South 
Figueroa Street, Suite 1850, Los Angeles, CA 90017, phone (213) 202-
3950, e-mail ray.tellis@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Scoping

    The FTA and LACMTA invite all interested individuals and 
organizations, public agencies, and Native American Tribes to comment 
on the scope of the EIS, including the project's purpose and need, the 
alternatives to be studied, the impacts to be evaluated, and the 
evaluation methods to be used. Comments should focus on: Alternatives 
that may be less costly or have less environmental or community impacts 
while achieving similar transportation objectives, and the 
identification of any significant social, economic, or environmental 
issues relating to the alternatives.

Project Initiation

    The FTA and LACMTA will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement/
Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the Regional Connector 
Transit Corridor pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 139 and the California 
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). LACMTA is serving as the local lead 
agency for purposes of CEQA environmental clearance, and FTA is serving 
as the federal lead agency for purposes of National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) environmental clearance. This notice shall alert 
interested parties to the preparation of the EIS/EIR, describe the 
alternatives under consideration, invite public participation in the 
EIS/EIR process, and announce the public scoping meetings. FTA and 
LACMTA will invite interested Federal, State, tribal, regional and 
local government agencies to be participating agencies under the 
provisions of section 6002 of SAFETEA-LU.

Purpose and Need for the Project

    The purpose of this project is to improve the region's public 
transit service and mobility. The overall goal of

[[Page 12446]]

the project is to improve mobility within the corridor by connecting to 
the light rail service of the Metro Gold Line to Pasadena, the Metro 
Gold Line Eastside Extension, the Metro Blue Line, and the Metro Expo 
Line. This link would serve communities across the region, allowing 
greater accessibility while serving population and employment growth in 
downtown Los Angeles. Mobility issues throughout the region and the 
identified need to join the unconnected segments of the light rail 
system have been documented in several past studies, including the 
Pasadena--Los Angeles Light Rail Transit Project Environmental Impact 
Report (1993), the Blue Line Connection Preliminary Planning Study 
(1993), and the Regional Light Rail Connector Study (2004).
    Additional considerations supporting the need for the Regional 
Connector Transit Corridor project include: Increased travel times and 
station overcrowding occurring due to multiple transfers required to 
traverse the project area; a project area that has many transit 
dependent residents; poor system connectivity that results in reduced 
system schedule reliability as current system expansions are completed; 
and investments within the project area could improve system-wide 
operations in regards to travel times and safety issues.

Project Location and Environmental Setting

    The proposed light rail transit (LRT) project lies entirely within 
the City of Los Angeles and is generally bounded by U.S. Highway 101 on 
the north, 7th and 9th Streets on the south, Alameda Street on the 
east, and State Route 110 on the west. Project length is just under two 
miles and the LRT alternatives would have up to four stations plus 
ancillary facilities including power substations. The project area is 
the largest regional employment center in Los Angeles County, and is 
densely developed with multi-family residences, industrial and public 
lands, commercial and retail establishments, government office 
buildings, and private high-rise office towers.
    The proposed Regional Connector project would provide a direct link 
connecting several light rail service lines in operation or in 
construction (i.e., the Metro Gold Line to Pasadena, the Metro Gold 
Line Eastside Extension, the Metro Blue Line, and the Metro Expo Line). 
The proposed project would create a connection in downtown Los Angeles 
that would link the Metro Blue and Expo Lines termini at 7th Street/
Metro Center Station (7th Street and Flower Street) to the Metro Gold 
Line (Pasadena and Eastside) at the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station 
at 1st Street and Alameda Street. This connection would provide through 
service between the Metro Blue Line to Long Beach, the Metro Gold Line 
to Pasadena and East Los Angeles, and the Metro Expo Line to Culver 
City. With the implementation of the Regional Connector project, these 
four lines would share tracks and stations in downtown Los Angeles.
    The various alternatives to be considered for the Regional 
Connector project generally traverse Flower Street north from 7th 
Street, 2nd Street between Flower and Alameda, Main and Los Angeles 
Streets between Temple Street and 2nd Street, Temple Street between 
City Hall and Alameda Street, and Alameda Street between U.S. Highway 
101 and 2nd Street.

Alternatives

    The Regional Connector Transit Corridor Final Alternatives Analysis 
Report (2009) prepared by LACMTA identified four alternatives for 
further consideration in the EIS/EIR. The four alternatives include: A 
No-Build Alternative, Transportation System Management (TSM) 
Alternative, At-Grade Emphasis LRT Alternative, and Underground 
Emphasis LRT Alternative.
    No-Build Alternative: The No Build Alternative would maintain 
existing transit service through the year 2030. No new transportation 
infrastructure would be built within the project area aside from 
projects currently under construction, or funded for construction and 
operation by 2030 by recently approved Measure R sales tax. Bus transit 
service under the No Build Alternative would be focused on the 
preservation of existing services and projects. By the projection year 
of 2030, some bus service would have been reorganized and expanded to 
provide connections with the new rail lines; however, the transit 
network within the project area would largely be the same as it is now.
    Transportation Systems Management (TSM) Alternative: The TSM 
Alternative would include the provisions of the No Build Alternative 
and add two shuttle bus routes from 7th Street/Metro Center station to 
Union Station providing a link between the region's unconnected LRT 
services, one along Grand Ave. and 1st St., and one along Figueroa, 
Flower, 2nd, and 3rd Streets. The shuttle buses would use existing bus-
only lanes, where available, and would be fitted with transit-priority 
signalization devices similar to those used on Metro Rapid. Stops would 
be located every few blocks so as to provide full coverage of the area. 
Each shuttle route would be one and one-half to two miles in length.
    At-Grade Emphasis LRT Alternative: This alternative would extend 
from the underground 7th Street/Metro Center Station, head north under 
Flower Street, surface to at-grade north of 5th Street, cross 3rd 
Street, enter Bunker Hill, and turn northeast through a new entrance to 
the existing 2nd Street tunnel. The alignment would continue along 2nd 
Street where it would split into an at-grade couplet configuration on 
Main and Los Angeles Streets (one track on each roadway) to Temple 
Street. Then it would head east on Temple Street and realign into a 
dual track configuration just north of the Metro Gold Line Little 
Tokyo/Arts District Station on Alameda Street. Due to the high volume 
of trains that would traverse the Regional Connector, an automobile 
underpass and pedestrian overpass would be constructed at the 
intersection of Temple and Alameda Streets to eliminate pedestrian-
train and automobile-train conflicts.
    There are two options for the configuration on Flower Street. For 
Option A, trains would transition to underground tracks after crossing 
3rd Street and continue to a new underground station just south of 5th 
Street, then proceed to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station and arrive 
at the existing Metro Blue Line platform. For Option B, trains would 
arrive at an at-grade station after crossing 3rd Street, then 
transition to underground tracks near 4th Street to reach the existing 
Metro Blue Line platform at 7th Street/Metro Center station. In total, 
the At-Grade Emphasis LRT Alternative would add 1.8 miles of new double 
track to the light rail system.
    In addition to the Option A and Option B Station configurations, 
other station locations would include a station adjacent to Bunker 
Hill, south of 2nd Street and Hope Street, and a split station using 
Main and Los Angeles Streets between 1st and Temple Streets. A fourth 
optional station on 2nd Street between Broadway and Los Angeles Street 
will be analyzed.
    Underground Emphasis LRT Alternative: From the 7th Street/Metro 
Center Station, this alternative would extend north along Flower Street 
with a new underground station north of 5th Street. At 2nd Street, the 
underground tunnel would extend east with new underground stations to 
provide access to Bunker Hill and to the area between Los Angeles 
Street and Broadway. The tunnel would emerge to at-grade connections 
just southwest of the intersection of 1st and Alameda Streets.


[[Page 12447]]

At 1st and Alameda Streets, a new underpass would carry car and truck 
traffic along Alameda Street below the rail junction, and a new 
overhead pedestrian bridge structure would eliminate most conflicts 
between pedestrians and trains. This Alternative would have a single 
at-grade crossing at the intersection of 1st and Alameda Streets. The 
rest of the route would be underground. The length of this proposed 
route would be 1.6 miles.
    Station locations for this alternative would all be underground and 
include the area north of 5th Street on Flower Street, adjacent to 
Bunker Hill just south of 2nd Street and 2nd Street between Los Angeles 
and Main Streets.

Probable Effects

    The purpose of this EIS/EIR process is to study, in a public 
setting, the effects of the proposed project and its alternatives on 
the physical, human, and natural environment. The FTA and LACMTA will 
evaluate all significant environmental, social, and economic impacts of 
the construction and operation of the proposed project. Impact areas to 
be addressed include: transportation, land use, zoning and economic 
development, secondary development, land acquisition, displacements and 
relocations, cultural resources (including historical, archaeological, 
and paleontological resources), parklands/recreational facilities, 
neighborhood compatibility and environmental justice, visual and 
aesthetic impacts, natural resources (including air quality, noise and 
vibration, wetlands, water resources, geology/soils, and hazardous 
materials), energy use, safety and security, wildlife, and ecosystems. 
Measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse impacts will be 
identified and evaluated.

FTA Procedures

    The regulations implementing NEPA, as well as provisions of the 
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A 
Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), call for public involvement in the EIS 
process. Section 6002 of SAFETEA-LU requires that FTA and LACMTA do the 
following: (1) Extend an invitation to other Federal and non-Federal 
agencies and Native American tribes that may have an interest in the 
proposed project to become ``participating agencies;'' (2) provide an 
opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public to 
help define the purpose and need for a proposed project, as well as the 
range of alternatives for consideration in the EIS; and (3) establish a 
plan for coordinating public and agency participation in, and comment 
on, the environmental review process. An invitation to become a 
participating or cooperating agency, with scoping materials appended, 
will be extended to other Federal and non-Federal agencies and Native 
American tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project. It 
is possible that FTA and LACMTA will not be able to identify all 
Federal and non-Federal agencies and Native American tribes that may 
have such an interest. Any Federal or non-Federal agency or Native 
American tribe interested in the proposed project that does not receive 
an invitation to become a participating agency should notify at the 
earliest opportunity the Project Manager identified above under 
ADDRESSES.
    A comprehensive public involvement program and a Coordination Plan 
for public and interagency involvement will be developed for the 
project and posted on LACMTA's Web site (Regional Connector Transit 
Corridor Project Web page: http://www.metro.net/regionalconnector). The 
public involvement program includes a full range of activities 
including the project Web page on the LACMTA Web site, development and 
distribution of project newsletters, and outreach to local officials, 
community and civic groups, and the public. Specific activities or 
events for involvement will be detailed in the public involvement 
program.
    LACMTA may seek New Starts funding for the proposed project under 
49 United States Code 5309 and will, therefore, be subject to New 
Starts regulations (49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 611). The 
New Starts regulations also require the submission of certain project-
justification information to support a request to initiate preliminary 
engineering. This information is normally developed in conjunction with 
the NEPA process. Pertinent New Starts evaluation criteria will be 
included in the EIS.
    The EIS will be prepared in accordance with NEPA and its 
implementing regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality 
(40 CFR parts 1500-1508) and with the FTA/Federal Highway 
Administration regulations ``Environmental Impact and Related 
Procedures'' (23 CFR part 771). In accordance with 23 CFR 771.105(a) 
and 771.133, FTA will comply with all Federal environmental laws, 
regulations, and executive orders applicable to the proposed project 
during the environmental review process to the maximum extent 
practicable. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the 
environmental and public hearing provisions of Federal transit laws (49 
U.S.C. 5301(e), 5323(b), and 5324); the project-level air quality 
conformity regulation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
(40 CFR part 93); the section 404(b)(1) guidelines of EPA (40 CFR part 
230); the regulation implementing section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act (36 CFR part 800); the regulation implementing section 
7 of the Endangered Species Act (50 CFR part 402); section 4(f) of the 
Department of Transportation Act (23 CFR 771.135); and Executive Orders 
12898 on environmental justice, 11988 on floodplain management, and 
11990 on wetlands.

    Issued on: March 19, 2009.
Leslie T. Rogers,
Regional Administrator, Region IX, Federal Transit Administration.
[FR Doc. E9-6421 Filed 3-23-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P