Environmental Impact Statement for West Lake Corridor Project in Lake County, Indiana and Cook County, Illinois, 58861-58863 [2014-23248]

Download as PDF tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 189 / Tuesday, September 30, 2014 / Notices are in captive service. In addition, the stenciling requirements would destroy the historical appearance of the freight cars that have been preserved for historical, education, and interpretive purposes. Regarding reflectorization relief, MRSR states that these requirements would destroy the historical appearance of the freight cars which have been preserved for historical, educational, and interpretive purposes. Application of the reflectorized tape or decals on wood-bodied equipment is difficult. Further, there is no practical safety purpose served by applying reflectorization because of the captive service and the extreme care under which MRSR operates such equipment, as well as the fact that the equipment is rarely operated in times other than daylight hours. During the Christmas season, the last train on each operating day operates during hours of darkness on the return trip. On those occasions, crossings not equipped with automatic crossing protection will be protected by flagmen equipped with lights and fuses to warn approaching motorists and to illuminate the cars. Current MRSR management is not aware of any train or vehicle accidents at grade crossings involving MRSR trains. A copy of the petition, as well as any written communications concerning the petition, is available for review online at www.regulations.gov and in person at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Docket Operations Facility, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Operations Facility is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Interested parties are invited to participate in these proceedings by submitting written views, data, or comments. FRA does not anticipate scheduling a public hearing in connection with these proceedings since the facts do not appear to warrant a hearing. If any interested party desires an opportunity for oral comment, they should notify FRA, in writing, before the end of the comment period and specify the basis for their request. All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the appropriate docket number and may be submitted by any of the following methods: • Web site: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: Docket Operations Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Sep 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 • Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Communications received by November 14, 2014 will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be considered as far as practicable. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). See http:// www.regulations.gov/#!privacyNotice for the privacy notice of regulations.gov or interested parties may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477). Issued in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2014. Ron Hynes, Director, Office of Safety Compliance and Assurance. [FR Doc. 2014–23202 Filed 9–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration Environmental Impact Statement for West Lake Corridor Project in Lake County, Indiana and Cook County, Illinois Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. AGENCY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), as the Federal Lead Agency, and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), as the Local Project Sponsor, intend to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the West Lake Corridor Project (Project) in Lake County, Indiana and Cook County, Illinois. The Project is an approximately 9-mile proposed southern branch extension of NICTD’s existing South Shore Line (SSL) between Dyer and Hammond, Indiana. Additionally, the Project would operate on about 15 miles of existing SSL and Metra Electric District’s (MED) line to the Millennium Station in downtown Chicago. Alternatives to be considered include a No Build, Commuter Rail, and several design options for the latter in terms of route alignment, station locations, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00137 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58861 maintenance facility sites, and vehicle mode. More information can be found on the Project’s Web site at: http:// www.nictdwestlake.com. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as provisions of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP– 21). The purpose of this notice is to alert interested parties regarding FTA’s plan to prepare the EIS; provide information on the nature of the proposed Project; solicit public and agency input regarding the scope of the EIS including the project’s purpose and need, alternatives to be considered, and the impacts to be evaluated; and announce that public and agency scoping meetings will be conducted. This input will be used to assist decision makers in determining a locally preferred alternative (LPA) and preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). If the No Build alternative is eliminated, an LPA will be selected and the project sponsors will request permission from FTA to enter into Project Development per requirements of 49 U.S.C. 5309. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) would be issued after the project has entered Project Development. FTA intends to issue a single FEIS and ROD document pursuant to MAP–21 Section 1319 requirements, unless FTA determines statutory criteria or practicability considerations preclude issuance of the combined document pursuant to Section 1319. Dates, Times and Locations: A public scoping meeting to present information and accept comments on the study will be held on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, IN 46321. Comparably, an interagency scoping meeting for federal, state, regional and local resource and regulatory agencies will be held on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, IN 46321. Appropriate agencies that may have an interest in this project, or have a potential interest in becoming a participating agency, will be notified of the meeting through separate direct correspondence. The building used for the meetings is accessible to persons with disabilities. Any person who requires special assistance, such as a language interpreter, should contact the NICTD West Lake Corridor Project at 219–250– 2920 at least 48 hours before the meeting. E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 58862 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 189 / Tuesday, September 30, 2014 / Notices Comment Due Date: Written comments on the purpose and need for the proposed improvements, and the scope of alternatives and impacts to be considered should be sent to NICTD West Lake Corridor Project via any of the methods outlined in the Addresses section below, on or before Tuesday, November 11, 2014. ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be sent to: NICTD West Lake Corridor Project, 33 East U.S. Highway 12, Chesterton, IN 46304; via email at project.email@ nictdwestlake.com; or on the project’s Web site at http:// www.nictdwestlake.com/commentonline.html. Additional Information: Contact Mark Assam, Environmental Protection Specialist, Federal Transit Administration, Region 5, 200 W. Adams Street, Suite 320, Chicago, IL 60606, 312–353–4070, mark.assam@ dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Project Background The concept of providing more direct access to transit in central, southern, and western Lake County has been considered for more than 25 years in regional transportation studies. As early as 1989, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) released a study that identified a South Shore extension as a potentially viable means to expand mass transit in the region. Since that time, multiple evaluations have occurred. In 2011, NICTD’s West Lake Corridor Study concluded that a rail-based service between the Munster/Dyer area and Metra’s Millennium Station in Downtown Chicago would best meet intraregional public transportation needs of the study area. In June 2014, NICTD released its 20-Year Strategic Business Plan, which highlighted the importance of the West Lake Corridor Project. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES II. Scoping The FTA and NICTD will undertake a scoping process for the Project that will allow the public and interested agencies to comment on the scope of the environmental review process. NEPA scoping has specific objectives to identify the significant environmental issues associated with alternatives to be examined in detail, while also limiting consideration of issues that are not truly significant. As such, the FTA and NICTD invite all interested individuals and organizations, public agencies, and Native American tribes to comment on the scope of the EIS, including the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Sep 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 project’s purpose and need, alternatives to be studied, impacts to be evaluated, and evaluation methods to be used. III. Purpose and Need for Project NICTD’s existing SSL provides a vital transportation link that connects Northwest Indiana to Chicago and Cook County, Illinois. NICTD is proposing the Project as a branch extension of the SSL route to reach high-growth areas in Lake County, Indiana. The Project would expand NICTD’s service coverage between Northwest Indiana and the Chicago region, improve mobility and accessibility, and stimulate local job creation and economic development opportunities for Lake County. Specifically, the Project is intended to: • Serve high-growth areas in central, southern, and western Lake County, Indiana • Conveniently connect more Northwest Indiana residents to downtown Chicago jobs and major activity centers • Establish a solid modal alternative between the two metropolitan subregions other than driving • Lower commuting travel times and costs • Increase NICTD system ridership • Promote economic development opportunities • Create local jobs in Northwest Indiana • Attract and retain families and younger residents • Provide a valued transportation asset for use by all Northwest Indiana residents IV. Alternatives The EIS for the Project will evaluate a No Build Alternative and a Commuter Rail Alternative. The two alternatives are described as follows: No Build Alternative: The No Build Alternative is defined as the existing transportation system, plus any committed transportation improvements included in NIRPC’s 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan. It would not include a major transit investment in the West Lake Corridor. As such, the No Build Alternative serves as the NEPA baseline against which the environmental effects of the proposed project are measured. Commuter Rail Alternative: The Commuter Rail Alternative would include an approximately 9-mile southern extension of NICTD’s existing SSL between Dyer and Hammond, Indiana. The project would involve new track improvements along the existing CSX Transportation and former Monon railroad corridors, with a flyover to the existing SSL in Hammond. Four PO 00000 Frm 00138 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 potential stations would be included at Munster/Dyer Main Street, Munster Fisher/45th Streets, South Hammond, and Downtown Hammond. A maintenance facility would also be needed to store and maintain the vehicles. Trains on the new Project branch line would connect with the existing SSL and ultimately the MED line to the north, providing new transit service between Dyer and Metra’s Millennium Station in Downtown Chicago, and as such, core capacity improvements to the existing MED line and Millennium Station may be required to accommodate the Project. Two alignment design options are also being considered for the Project, including a possible extension to St. John, Indiana on the southern end, and another along the Indiana Harbor Belt Kensington Branch through Calumet City, Burnham, and Chicago, Illinois on the northern end. Design options for four other possible station locations and three potential maintenance facility sites are also being studied. Vehicle mode options include Electric Heavy Rail, Diesel Heavy Rail, and Combined Electric/Diesel Rail. The Project route alignment, station locations, maintenance facility sites, and vehicle mode will be further refined during the environmental review process, working in close consultation with the public, agencies, and key stakeholders. V. Probable Effects/Potential Impacts for Analysis The FTA and NICTD will evaluate each alternative for significant social, economic, and environmental impacts. Anticipated primary resource topics include: Transportation, land use, socioeconomics and economic development, parklands and trails, neighborhoods and community facilities, environmental justice, noise and vibration, hazardous materials, ecosystems, water resources, and shortterm construction impacts. The EIS will also address displacements and relocations, historic and archaeological resources, visual quality, vegetation, farmlands, air quality, and energy. The potential impacts to these resources will be evaluated both for the short-term construction period and long-term operation of each alternative. In addition, indirect and cumulative effects of the proposed project will be identified. Measures to avoid or minimize and mitigate project impacts will be developed, as needed. VI. FTA Procedures The FTA and NICTD will comply with applicable federal environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 189 / Tuesday, September 30, 2014 / Notices during the environmental review process. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500–1508) and FTA’s Regulations on Environmental Impact and Related Procedures (23 CFR Part 771). The FTA and NICTD will also comply with the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality conformity regulations (40 CFR part 93), Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act, Executive Order 11988 on Floodplain Management, Executive Order 11990 on Wetlands, Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice, and DOT Order 5610.2(a) on Environmental Justice. Under a Commuter Rail scenario, NICTD intends to seek federal funding for the Project under FTA’s New Starts program. The New Starts program involves a multi-year, multi-step process, including completion of the environmental review procedures, which project sponsors must traverse before funding is approved. The steps in the New Starts process and basic requirements of the funding program can be found on FTA’s Web site at www.fta.dot.gov. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES VII. Paperwork Reduction The Paperwork Reduction Act seeks, in part, to minimize the cost to the taxpayer of the creation, collection, maintenance, use, dissemination, and disposition of information. Consistent with this goal and with principles of economy and efficiency in government, it is FTA policy to limit insofar as possible distribution of complete printed sets of NEPA documents. Accordingly, unless a specific request for a complete hardcopy of the NEPA document is received before it is printed, FTA and its grant applicants will distribute only electronic versions of the NEPA document. A complete copy of the environmental document will be available for review at the grant applicant’s offices; an electronic copy of the complete environmental document will be available on the grant applicant’s Project Web site at www.nictdwestlake.com. ´ Marisol R. Simon, Regional Administrator. [FR Doc. 2014–23248 Filed 9–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Sep 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket No. PHMSA–2014–0092] Pipeline Safety: Request for Revision of a Previously Approved Information Collection: National Pipeline Mapping System Program Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice and request for comments; extension of comment period. AGENCY: On July 30, 2014, (79 FR 44246) PHMSA published a notice and request for comments in the Federal Register titled: ‘‘Pipeline Safety: Request for Revision of a Previously Approved Information Collection: National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) Program (OMB Control No. 2137–0596)’’ seeking comments on proposed changes to the NPMS data collection. PHMSA has received a request to extend the comment period in order to provide more time to evaluate the proposed revisions. PHMSA is extending the comment period from September 29, 2014, to December 1, 2014. SUMMARY: The closing date for filing comments is extended from September 29, 2014, until December 1, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Docket No. PHMSA–2014– 0092 through one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251 • Mail or Hand Delivery: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Room W12– 140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. • Instructions: Identify the docket number, PHMSA–2014–0092, at the beginning of your comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. You should know that anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received in 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.). DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00139 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58863 Therefore, you may want to review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or visit http://www.regulations.gov before submitting any such comments. • Docket: For access to the docket or to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time or to Room W12–140 on the ground level of DOT’s West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you wish to receive confirmation of receipt of your written comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard with the following statement: ‘‘Comments on: PHMSA– 2014–0092.’’ The Docket Clerk will date stamp the postcard prior to returning it to you via the U.S. mail. Please note that due to delays in the delivery of U.S. mail to Federal offices in Washington, DC, we recommend that persons consider an alternative method (internet, fax, or professional delivery service) of submitting comments to the docket and ensuring their timely receipt at DOT. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Nelson, GIS Manager, Program Development Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, by phone at 202–493–0591 or email at amy.nelson@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On July 30, 2014, (79 FR 44246) PHMSA published a notice and request for comments on the proposed changes to the NPMS data collection. The NPMS is a geospatial dataset that contains information about PHMSA-regulated gas transmission pipelines, hazardous liquid pipelines, and hazardous liquid low-stress gathering lines. The NPMS also contains data layers for all liquefied natural gas plants and a partial dataset of PHMSA-regulated breakout tanks. PHMSA is proposing to expand the collection of this data to include more detailed information on several data elements. On September 4, 2014, the American Gas Association (AGA) requested PHMSA extend the comment period by 30 days. AGA supported their request stating that, within the notice, PHMSA outlines thirty-one different pipeline attributes that are requested in a geospatial format specified by PHMSA and that a 60-day comment period does not allow AGA, or its operators, time to fully evaluate the burden associated with meeting PHMSA’s proposal. AGA also stated that the additional time E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 189 (Tuesday, September 30, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58861-58863]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-23248]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Environmental Impact Statement for West Lake Corridor Project in 
Lake County, Indiana and Cook County, Illinois

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of 
Transportation.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), as the Federal Lead 
Agency, and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District 
(NICTD), as the Local Project Sponsor, intend to prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the West Lake Corridor Project 
(Project) in Lake County, Indiana and Cook County, Illinois. The 
Project is an approximately 9-mile proposed southern branch extension 
of NICTD's existing South Shore Line (SSL) between Dyer and Hammond, 
Indiana. Additionally, the Project would operate on about 15 miles of 
existing SSL and Metra Electric District's (MED) line to the Millennium 
Station in downtown Chicago. Alternatives to be considered include a No 
Build, Commuter Rail, and several design options for the latter in 
terms of route alignment, station locations, maintenance facility 
sites, and vehicle mode. More information can be found on the Project's 
Web site at: http://www.nictdwestlake.com.
    The EIS will be prepared in accordance with regulations 
implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as 
provisions of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-
21). The purpose of this notice is to alert interested parties 
regarding FTA's plan to prepare the EIS; provide information on the 
nature of the proposed Project; solicit public and agency input 
regarding the scope of the EIS including the project's purpose and 
need, alternatives to be considered, and the impacts to be evaluated; 
and announce that public and agency scoping meetings will be conducted. 
This input will be used to assist decision makers in determining a 
locally preferred alternative (LPA) and preparing a Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (DEIS). If the No Build alternative is eliminated, an 
LPA will be selected and the project sponsors will request permission 
from FTA to enter into Project Development per requirements of 49 
U.S.C. 5309. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record 
of Decision (ROD) would be issued after the project has entered Project 
Development. FTA intends to issue a single FEIS and ROD document 
pursuant to MAP-21 Section 1319 requirements, unless FTA determines 
statutory criteria or practicability considerations preclude issuance 
of the combined document pursuant to Section 1319.
    Dates, Times and Locations: A public scoping meeting to present 
information and accept comments on the study will be held on Tuesday, 
October 28, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in The Center for Visual 
and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, IN 46321.
    Comparably, an interagency scoping meeting for federal, state, 
regional and local resource and regulatory agencies will be held on 
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in The Center for 
Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, IN 46321. 
Appropriate agencies that may have an interest in this project, or have 
a potential interest in becoming a participating agency, will be 
notified of the meeting through separate direct correspondence.
    The building used for the meetings is accessible to persons with 
disabilities. Any person who requires special assistance, such as a 
language interpreter, should contact the NICTD West Lake Corridor 
Project at 219-250-2920 at least 48 hours before the meeting.

[[Page 58862]]

    Comment Due Date: Written comments on the purpose and need for the 
proposed improvements, and the scope of alternatives and impacts to be 
considered should be sent to NICTD West Lake Corridor Project via any 
of the methods outlined in the Addresses section below, on or before 
Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be sent to: 
NICTD West Lake Corridor Project, 33 East U.S. Highway 12, Chesterton, 
IN 46304; via email at project.email@nictdwestlake.com; or on the 
project's Web site at http://www.nictdwestlake.com/comment-online.html.
    Additional Information: Contact Mark Assam, Environmental 
Protection Specialist, Federal Transit Administration, Region 5, 200 W. 
Adams Street, Suite 320, Chicago, IL 60606, 312-353-4070, 
mark.assam@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Project Background

    The concept of providing more direct access to transit in central, 
southern, and western Lake County has been considered for more than 25 
years in regional transportation studies. As early as 1989, the 
Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) released a 
study that identified a South Shore extension as a potentially viable 
means to expand mass transit in the region. Since that time, multiple 
evaluations have occurred. In 2011, NICTD's West Lake Corridor Study 
concluded that a rail-based service between the Munster/Dyer area and 
Metra's Millennium Station in Downtown Chicago would best meet 
intraregional public transportation needs of the study area. In June 
2014, NICTD released its 20-Year Strategic Business Plan, which 
highlighted the importance of the West Lake Corridor Project.

II. Scoping

    The FTA and NICTD will undertake a scoping process for the Project 
that will allow the public and interested agencies to comment on the 
scope of the environmental review process. NEPA scoping has specific 
objectives to identify the significant environmental issues associated 
with alternatives to be examined in detail, while also limiting 
consideration of issues that are not truly significant. As such, the 
FTA and NICTD 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, alternatives to be 
studied, impacts to be evaluated, and evaluation methods to be used.

III. Purpose and Need for Project

    NICTD's existing SSL provides a vital transportation link that 
connects Northwest Indiana to Chicago and Cook County, Illinois. NICTD 
is proposing the Project as a branch extension of the SSL route to 
reach high-growth areas in Lake County, Indiana. The Project would 
expand NICTD's service coverage between Northwest Indiana and the 
Chicago region, improve mobility and accessibility, and stimulate local 
job creation and economic development opportunities for Lake County. 
Specifically, the Project is intended to:
     Serve high-growth areas in central, southern, and western 
Lake County, Indiana
     Conveniently connect more Northwest Indiana residents to 
downtown Chicago jobs and major activity centers
     Establish a solid modal alternative between the two 
metropolitan sub-regions other than driving
     Lower commuting travel times and costs
     Increase NICTD system ridership
     Promote economic development opportunities
     Create local jobs in Northwest Indiana
     Attract and retain families and younger residents
     Provide a valued transportation asset for use by all 
Northwest Indiana residents

IV. Alternatives

    The EIS for the Project will evaluate a No Build Alternative and a 
Commuter Rail Alternative. The two alternatives are described as 
follows:
    No Build Alternative: The No Build Alternative is defined as the 
existing transportation system, plus any committed transportation 
improvements included in NIRPC's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan. It 
would not include a major transit investment in the West Lake Corridor. 
As such, the No Build Alternative serves as the NEPA baseline against 
which the environmental effects of the proposed project are measured.
    Commuter Rail Alternative: The Commuter Rail Alternative would 
include an approximately 9-mile southern extension of NICTD's existing 
SSL between Dyer and Hammond, Indiana. The project would involve new 
track improvements along the existing CSX Transportation and former 
Monon railroad corridors, with a flyover to the existing SSL in 
Hammond. Four potential stations would be included at Munster/Dyer Main 
Street, Munster Fisher/45th Streets, South Hammond, and Downtown 
Hammond. A maintenance facility would also be needed to store and 
maintain the vehicles. Trains on the new Project branch line would 
connect with the existing SSL and ultimately the MED line to the north, 
providing new transit service between Dyer and Metra's Millennium 
Station in Downtown Chicago, and as such, core capacity improvements to 
the existing MED line and Millennium Station may be required to 
accommodate the Project.
    Two alignment design options are also being considered for the 
Project, including a possible extension to St. John, Indiana on the 
southern end, and another along the Indiana Harbor Belt Kensington 
Branch through Calumet City, Burnham, and Chicago, Illinois on the 
northern end. Design options for four other possible station locations 
and three potential maintenance facility sites are also being studied. 
Vehicle mode options include Electric Heavy Rail, Diesel Heavy Rail, 
and Combined Electric/Diesel Rail. The Project route alignment, station 
locations, maintenance facility sites, and vehicle mode will be further 
refined during the environmental review process, working in close 
consultation with the public, agencies, and key stakeholders.

V. Probable Effects/Potential Impacts for Analysis

    The FTA and NICTD will evaluate each alternative for significant 
social, economic, and environmental impacts. Anticipated primary 
resource topics include: Transportation, land use, socioeconomics and 
economic development, parklands and trails, neighborhoods and community 
facilities, environmental justice, noise and vibration, hazardous 
materials, ecosystems, water resources, and short-term construction 
impacts. The EIS will also address displacements and relocations, 
historic and archaeological resources, visual quality, vegetation, 
farmlands, air quality, and energy. The potential impacts to these 
resources will be evaluated both for the short-term construction period 
and long-term operation of each alternative. In addition, indirect and 
cumulative effects of the proposed project will be identified. Measures 
to avoid or minimize and mitigate project impacts will be developed, as 
needed.

VI. FTA Procedures

    The FTA and NICTD will comply with applicable federal environmental 
laws, regulations, and executive orders

[[Page 58863]]

during the environmental review process. These requirements include, 
but are not limited to, the regulations of the Council on Environmental 
Quality implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508) and FTA's 
Regulations on Environmental Impact and Related Procedures (23 CFR Part 
771). The FTA and NICTD will also comply with the requirements of the 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's air quality conformity 
regulations (40 CFR part 93), Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Section 
404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, Section 4(f) 
of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act, Executive Order 11988 on 
Floodplain Management, Executive Order 11990 on Wetlands, Executive 
Order 12898 on Environmental Justice, and DOT Order 5610.2(a) on 
Environmental Justice.
    Under a Commuter Rail scenario, NICTD intends to seek federal 
funding for the Project under FTA's New Starts program. The New Starts 
program involves a multi-year, multi-step process, including completion 
of the environmental review procedures, which project sponsors must 
traverse before funding is approved. The steps in the New Starts 
process and basic requirements of the funding program can be found on 
FTA's Web site at www.fta.dot.gov.

VII. Paperwork Reduction

    The Paperwork Reduction Act seeks, in part, to minimize the cost to 
the taxpayer of the creation, collection, maintenance, use, 
dissemination, and disposition of information. Consistent with this 
goal and with principles of economy and efficiency in government, it is 
FTA policy to limit insofar as possible distribution of complete 
printed sets of NEPA documents. Accordingly, unless a specific request 
for a complete hardcopy of the NEPA document is received before it is 
printed, FTA and its grant applicants will distribute only electronic 
versions of the NEPA document. A complete copy of the environmental 
document will be available for review at the grant applicant's offices; 
an electronic copy of the complete environmental document will be 
available on the grant applicant's Project Web site at 
www.nictdwestlake.com.

Marisol R. Sim[oacute]n,
Regional Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2014-23248 Filed 9-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P