Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the GA 400 Transit Initiative in Fulton County, Georgia, 17147-17150 [2015-07287]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 61 / Tuesday, March 31, 2015 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES provides no evidence outlining such abuse. Moreover, it provides no evidence that the new $75,000 bond requirement is not required to protect against such abuse of market power. Without any evidence, FMCSA will not exempt an entire industry from a clearly articulated congressional directive to raise the broker and freight forwarder financial responsibility requirements. National Transportation Policy (NTP) Finally, in its application, AIPBA argues that the $75,000 bond requirement is contrary to the transportation policy of 49 U.S.C. 13101, because it violates the federal government’s policy to ‘‘encourage fair competition, and reasonable rates for transportation by motor carriers of property’’ and to ‘‘allow a variety of quality and price options to meet changing market demands and the diverse requirements of the shipping and traveling public. . . .’’ 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(A), (D). AIPBA argues that the new broker bond amount ‘‘will likely result in a loss of tens of thousands of jobs and higher consumer prices as a matter of supply and demand.’’ Further, according to AIPBA, ‘‘per Kevin Reid of the National Association for Minority Truckers, the anti-competitive effects of the new broker bond requirement will detrimentally affect the participation of minorities in the motor carrier system, which is another violation of the transportation policy.’’ In its docket comments in this proceeding, AIPBA argues that ‘‘a $75,000 bond to protect carriers is not necessary to implement the national transportation policy because there is no shipper bond to protect carriers when they receive loads without the involvement of an intermediary.’’ Further, AIPBA argues that ‘‘enforcement of the new financial security minimum is contrary to the national transportation policy of 49 U.S.C. 13101 because it restricts opportunity, competition and reasonable rates.’’ On the other hand, with regard to the National Transportation Policy (NTP), OOIDA argues that Congress’s new $75,000 requirement ‘‘burnished the national transportation goals of encouraging ‘sound economic conditions in transportation, including sound economic conditions among carriers;’ 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(1)(C), and acted to promote efficient transportation and to enable efficient and wellmanaged carriers to . . . maintain fair wages and working conditions. Sections 13101(a)(2)(B)&(F).’’ OOIDA’s point is well taken. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:32 Mar 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 While AIPBA is correct that the NTP provides that the policy of the United States Government is to ‘‘encourage fair competition, and reasonable rates for transportation by motor carriers of property,’’ ‘‘allow a variety of quality and price options to meet changing market demands and the diverse requirements of the shipping and traveling public’’, 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(A), (D), and ‘‘promote greater participation by minorities in the motor carrier system,’’ 49 U.S.C. 3101(a)(2)(J), these are not the only elements of the NTP. Among other goals, the NTP provides that federal transportation policy includes ‘‘promot[ing] efficiency in the motor carrier transportation system . . . ,’’ 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(B), meeting the needs of shippers, 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(C), and ‘‘enabl[ing] efficient and wellmanaged carriers to earn adequate profits, attract capital, and maintain fair wages and working conditions. . . .’’ 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(F). FMCSA finds that application of the $75,000 broker and freight forwarder financial responsibility requirements under 49 U.S.C. 13906(b), (c) is ‘‘necessary to carry out the transportation policy of section 13101. . . .’’ 49 U.S.C. 13541(a)(1). First, Congress set that amount as the minimum requirement and in so doing, must be presumed to have acted in a manner consistent with the NTP. Second, as OOIDA, TIA and SFAA have shown, the previous $10,000 bond was inadequate in the event of broker financial problems. In such instances, both shippers and motor carriers faced losses. Accordingly, applying the new $75,000 bond amount is necessary to meet the ‘‘needs of shippers,’’ 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(C), and to allow motor carriers to ‘‘earn adequate profits [and] attract capital,’’ 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(F), as directed by the NTP. Moreover, AIPBA has not shown why applying the new $75,000 requirement is not necessary to carry out those provisions of the NTP. FMCSA does not believe that AIPBA has provided evidence that there has been a decrease in motor carrier competition or an increase in shipping rates due to the implementation of the $75,000 bond requirement. Indeed at p. 5 of their docket comments, AIPBA admits that rates have actually decreased. Further, aside from an unsubstantiated projection, AIPBA makes no showing that the new $75,000 requirement will undermine the NTP’s goal of ‘‘promot[ing] greater participation by minorities in the motor carrier system. . . .’’ 49 U.S.C. 13101(a)(2)(J). PO 00000 Frm 00123 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17147 FMCSA does not find that the $75,000 financial responsibility requirement for brokers/freight forwarders is ‘‘not necessary to carry out the transportation policy of section 13101. . . .’’ 49 U.S.C. 13541(a)(1). Nor does FMCSA find that continued regulation under section 13906(b), (c) ‘‘is not needed to protect shippers from the abuse of market power’’ or that the transaction or service at issue is of ‘‘limited scope. . . .’’ 49 U.S.C. 13541(a)(2). Finally, granting the exemption requested by AIPBA is not in the public interest. 49 U.S.C. 13541(a)(3). Accordingly, AIBPA’s request is denied. Issued on: March 25, 2015. T.F. Scott Darling, III, Chief Counsel. [FR Doc. 2015–07353 Filed 3–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the GA 400 Transit Initiative in Fulton County, Georgia Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Section 4(f) Evaluation. AGENCY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) issue this Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and an evaluation per 49 U.S.C, 303 and 23 CFR 774 (‘‘Section 4(f)’’) for the extension of high capacity, rapid transit in the Georgia (GA) 400 corridor in north Fulton County, GA from Dunwoody to Alpharetta. The EIS and Section 4(f) Evaluation will be prepared in accordance with regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508, Section 4(f), as well as FTA’s regulations and guidance implementing NEPA (23 CFR 771). The purpose of this NOI is to: (1) Advise the public and agencies that MARTA in coordination with the FTA is preparing an EIS for the proposed project; (2) provide information including previous planning studies and decision, purpose and need, and alternatives being considered; and, (3) invite public and agency participation in the EIS process, which includes a SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 17148 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 61 / Tuesday, March 31, 2015 / Notices review and written comments on the scope of the EIS. DATES: Scoping Meeting Dates: Public Scoping meetings will be held on April 14, 16, and 30, 2015 at locations within the study area. The Scoping meeting locations are accessible by transit and to persons with disabilities. Confirmed times and locations will be published in local notices and on the project Web site at http://www.itsmarta.com/north-line400-corr.aspx. The dates, times, and locations of the Scoping meetings are: • Scoping Meeting 1: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at the North Fulton Government Service Center located at 7741 Roswell Road #104, Sandy Springs, GA 30350. • Scoping Meeting 2: Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the Georgia State University Alpharetta Center located at 3775 Brookside Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30022. • Scoping Meeting 3: Thursday, April 30, 2015 at the East Roswell Park located at 9000 Fouts Road, Roswell, GA 30076. All meetings will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Directional signage will be posted at all meeting locations to inform participants of the meeting room number and location. All meeting locations are considered private property. With the exception of on-duty law enforcement and/or security officials, weapons will not be allowed on the premises of any meeting locations under any circumstances. If there are questions concerning weapons policies for Scoping meeting locations or if translation, signing services, or other special accommodations are needed, please contact MARTA’s Office of External Affairs, Toni Thornton at tthornton@itsmarta.com or 404–848– 5423 at least one week before the scoping meetings. Written Comments: Written or electronic mail (email) comments should be sent to Mark Eatman, Project Manager, MARTA, 2424 Piedmont Road NE., Atlanta GA 30324–3330 or by email at mreatman@itsmarta.com. If submitting an email comment, please type ‘‘Scoping Meeting Comment for MARTA’’ in the subject line of the email. MARTA maintains a Facebook page for the GA 400 Corridor project and will notify Facebook followers, in conjunction with publication of this notice, to submit comments to the aforementioned email address as well. The address for the Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Connect400. Information on the project may also be found on the project Web site, http:// www.itsmarta.com/north-line-400corr.aspx. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:32 Mar 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 Mr. Stan Mitchell, Environmental Protection Specialist, FTA Region IV, 230 Peachtree Street NW., Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30303 or email: stanley.a.mitchell@dot.gov, telephone 404–865–5643. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: I. Scoping FTA and MARTA will undertake a Scoping process that will allow the public and interested agencies to comment on the scope of the environmental review process. Scoping is the process of determining the scope, focus, and content of an EIS. NEPA Scoping has specific objectives, identifying issues that will be examined in detail during the EIS, while at the same time limiting consideration and development of issues that are not truly significant to the purpose and need for the project. FTA and MARTA invite all interested individuals, members of the public, Native American tribes, and Federal, State, and local agencies to review and comment on the scope of the Draft EIS. To facilitate public and agency comment, a Scoping Information Packet will be prepared for review and will be available before each Scoping meeting and for handout at each Scoping meeting. This packet will include draft descriptions of the project purpose and need, the alternatives considered, impacts to be assessed, early alternatives that are currently not being considered, and the public outreach and agency coordination process. II. Study Area Description The project study area is located in Fulton County, Georgia, and includes small portions of the cities of Sandy Springs, Roswell, Milton, Dunwoody, Johns Creek and Alpharetta. The corridor study area extends approximately 12 miles along GA 400 from North Springs heavy rail station (the current northern terminus of the MARTA heavy rail service) northward to Windward Parkway near the Fulton/ Forsyth county line. III. Purpose and Need for the Proposed Project MARTA invites comments on the following preliminary statement of the project’s purpose and need: The purpose of the GA 400 Corridor project is to provide high capacity transit (bus and/or rail) through the corridor study area, improve transit linkages and coverage to communities within the study area, and enhance mobility and accessibility to and within the study area by providing a more PO 00000 Frm 00124 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 robust transit network that offers an alternative to automobile travel. The GA 400 Corridor is the transportation spine of northern Fulton County, one of the fastest growing subregions in the metro-Atlanta region. The corridor is home to many employment centers, including Perimeter Center in the southern portion of the corridor, one of the largest employment centers in the region. Transit service to and within the study area is provided primarily by MARTA heavy rail and bus. MARTA heavy rail service extends from Downtown Atlanta to major retail and employment centers, including the Medical Center and Perimeter Center in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs in the southern portion of the corridor. MARTA bus service in the corridor study area primarily functions as feeder service to the North Springs heavy rail station from areas to the north, including Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton. The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) also operates two express bus routes during peak hours that connect the southern portion of the GA 400 corridor to/from north and southeast destinations outside the GA 400 corridor. The following needs for the proposed project stem from existing conditions and deficiencies in the corridor study area: • Travel demand—Increased travel demand and traffic congestion; • Transit mobility—There is inadequate transit connectivity within the northern Fulton County study area and between the study area and DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Cobb Counties and central Atlanta. In addition, east-west transit connectivity is inadequate. The limited routes across the Chattahoochee River reflect the inadequate transit connectivity; • Transit travel times—Transit travel times are not competitive with auto travel times due to the lack of express service; this is true for north-south trips within the study area and for trips with origins and destinations outside the study area. Transit and auto travel times cannot be compared for east-west trips as there is no east-west transit service; and, • Economic development—Traffic congestion caused by insufficient transportation system capacity affects both personal travel and goods movement, which constrains economic development opportunities. IV. Alternatives Analysis and Results In 2011, MARTA initiated the GA 400 Corridor Transit Initiative Alternatives Analysis (AA) to analyze the corridor based on current trends and conditions. E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 61 / Tuesday, March 31, 2015 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES The AA study process identified ways to enhance transportation choices, improve transit service, and increase access to jobs and activity centers for commuters and residents in the GA 400 corridor. MARTA and corridor stakeholders examined a broad range of alternatives for high capacity, fixed route transit investments in the corridor. The AA study process reduced the number of potentially viable alternatives through a multilayered screening methodology and by engaging the public and stakeholders. The AA process concluded that the GA 400 right-of-way from the North Springs station to Windward Parkway near the Fulton/ Forsyth County line is the preferred alignment. The transit technologies requiring further evaluation were identified as heavy rail transit (HRT), light rail transit (LRT), and bus rapid transit (BRT). Additional technical and public and stakeholder input received during Early Scoping (conducted in 2013 and 2014) established the basis for selecting a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) within the GA 400 Corridor. The LPA is a HRT line that would cross to the west side of Georgia 400 north of North Springs Station but south of Spalding Dr. This alternative would have a second crossover back to the east side of GA 400 north of the Chattahoochee River. The HRT alternative received the strongest public support throughout the study process due to the higher level of transit service for corridor commuters and residents. In addition, two BRT alignments will be considered as lower-cost options as part of the DEIS. Stakeholder input received during Early Scoping, poor performance shown in technical study and preliminary analysis eliminated the LRT alternative. The MARTA Board of Directors adopted the HRT transit concept as the LPA for the GA 400 corridor along with consideration of the additional BRT alternatives on March 5, 2015. The results of the AA study, Early Scoping, and the Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Analysis study are available at http:// www.itsmarta.com/north-line-400corr.aspx, under Documents. V. EIS Alternatives Considered Based on the technical analysis and input received from the public and stakeholders regarding the GA 400 corridor, the following proposed alternatives, along with a brief description for each, will be evaluated during the EIS: No-Build Alternative: The No-Build Alternative includes all transportation improvement projects within the GA VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:32 Mar 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 400 Corridor project area that are programmed in the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) with the exception of the GA 400 Corridor project. The No-Build Alternative serves as a comparison baseline for the project build alternatives. Build Alternative 1: Build Alternative 1 is an extension of MARTA’s HRT Red line. It includes segments that are atgrade, tunnel and on aerial structure. From the North Springs station, the alignment for Build Alternative 1 would cross GA 400 south of Spalding Drive to run along the west side of GA 400, cross the Chattahoochee River, and then cross back over GA 400 to run along the east side of GA 400 to Windward Parkway. The Build Alternative 1 is the LPA for the study corridor. Build Alternative 2: Build Alternative 2 is a new BRT exclusive guideway that includes segments that are at-grade and on aerial structure. The alignment would extend from the North Springs station, cross GA 400 south of Spalding Drive to run along the west side of GA 400, cross the Chattahoochee River and then cross over GA 400 to run along the east side of GA 400 to Windward Parkway. Build Alternative 3: Build Alternative 3 is a new BRT line operating in a future Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Managed Lanes project on GA 400 that includes segments that are atgrade and on aerial structure. Except when serving the station at Windward Parkway, this alternative would not cross over GA 400. VI. Potential Effects FTA and MARTA will evaluate project-specific direct, indirect, and cumulative effects, including benefits, to the existing human and natural environmental setting in which the Build Alternatives could be located. The permanent or long-term effects to be investigated during this study include effects to public parks and recreation lands (Section 4(f) Evaluation), traffic and transportation, land use and socioeconomic, visual character and aesthetics, noise and vibration, historical and archaeological resources, community effects, and natural resources. Temporary effects during construction may include effects to transportation and traffic, air quality, water quality, noise and vibration, natural resources, and encounters with hazardous materials and contaminated soils. The analysis will be undertaken in conformity with Federal environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders applicable to the proposed project PO 00000 Frm 00125 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17149 during the environmental review process. These requirements include but are not limited to NEPA, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, FTA guidance and relevant environmental planning guidelines, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, Executive Order 12898 regarding minority and low-income populations, Executive Order 11990 regarding the protection of wetlands, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Clean Air Act of 1970 along with other applicable Federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Opportunities for review and comment on the potential effects will be provided to the public and agencies. Comments received will be considered in the development of the final scope and content of the EIS. The final scope and content of the EIS will be documented in the Scoping Summary Report and the Annotated Outline for the EIS. VII. FTA’s Public and Agency Involvement Procedures The regulations implementing NEPA and FTA guidance call for public involvement in the EIS process. In accordance with these regulations and guidance, FTA and MARTA will: (1) Extend an invitation to other Federal and non-Federal (state and/or local) agencies and Native American Tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project to become participating agencies (any interested agency that does not receive an invitation can notify any of the contact persons listed earlier in this NOI); (2) provide opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public to help define the purpose and need for the 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. Input on a Public Involvement Plan will be solicited at Scoping meetings and on the project Web site. The documents will outline public and agency involvement for the project. Once completed, these documents will be available on the project Web site or through written request to the MARTA Project Manager. VIII. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act seeks, in part, to minimize the cost of the taxpayer of the creation, collection, maintenance, use, dissemination, and disposition of information. Consistent with this goal and with the principles of E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 17150 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 61 / Tuesday, March 31, 2015 / Notices economy and efficiency in government, it is FTA’s policy to limit, insofar as possible, distribution of complete printed sets of NEPA documents. Accordingly, unless a specific request for a complete printed set is received before the document is printed, FTA and its grant applicants (including MARTA) will only distribute electronic copies of the NEPA document. A complete printed set of the environmental documents produced for this project will be available for review at the grant applicant’s office (MARTA Headquarters office listed in ADDRESSES above) and in other possible locations within the project corridor. An electronic copy of the complete environmental documents will be available on the grant applicant’s project Web site at http://www.itsmarta.com/ north-line-400-corr.aspx. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES IX. Summary and Next Steps With the publication of this NOI, the Scoping process and the public comment period for the project begins allowing the public to offer input on the scope of the EIS until May 11, 2015. In accordance with the Federal regulations, this date is at least 45 days following the publication of this NOI. Public comments will be received through those methods explained earlier in this NOI and will be incorporated into a Scoping Summary Report. The Scoping Summary Report will detail the scope of the EIS and the potential environmental effects that will be considered during the study period. After the completion of the Draft EIS, a public and agency review period will allow for input on the Draft EIS and these comments will be incorporated into the Final EIS for this project. In accordance with Section 1319 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), Accelerated Decision-making in Environmental Reviews, FTA may consider the use of errata sheets attached to the DEIS in place of a traditional Final EIS and/or development a single environmental decision document that consists of a Final EIS and a Record of Decision (ROD), if certain conditions exist following the conclusion of the public and agency review period for the project’s Draft EIS. Yvette G. Taylor, Regional Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, Atlanta, GA. [FR Doc. 2015–07287 Filed 3–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–57–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:32 Mar 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Department of the Treasury. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Department of the Treasury will submit the following information collection requests to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, on or after the date of publication of this notice. DATES: Comments should be received on or before April 30, 2015 to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: Send comments regarding the burden estimate, or any other aspect of the information collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to (1) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for Treasury, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, or email at OIRA_Submission@ OMB.EOP.gov and (2) Treasury PRA Clearance Officer, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 8140, Washington, DC 20220, or email at PRA@treasury.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 927–5331, email at PRA@treasury.gov, or the entire information collection request may be found at www.reginfo.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Internal Revenue Service OMB Number: 1545–1661. Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved collection. Title: REG–106010–98 (Final) Qualified Lessee Construction Allowance for Short-Term Leases. Abstract: The regulations provide guidance with respect to Sec. 110, which provides a safe harbor whereby it will be assumed that a construction allowance provided by a lessor to a lessee is used to construct or improve lessor property when long-term property is constructed or improved and used pursuant to a short-term lease. The regulations also provide a reporting requirement that ensures that both the lessee and lessor consistently treat the property subject to the construction allowance as nonresidential real property owned by the lessor. Affected Public: Private Sector: Businesses or other for-profits. Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 10,000. OMB Number: 1545–1791. PO 00000 Frm 00126 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved collection. Title: Membership Applications for IRPAC, IRSAC, and ETACC (IRS Committee’s), IRS Advisory Council, and Tax Check Waiver. Form: 12339, 12339–B, 12339–C, 13775. Abstract: The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requires that committee membership be fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented and the functions to be performed. As a result, members of specific committees often have both the expertise and professional skills that parallel the program responsibilities of their sponsoring agencies. In order to apply to be a member of the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC), the Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC), Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities, or the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC), applicants must submit a Membership Application. Selection of committee members is made based on the FACA’s requirements and the potential member’s background and qualifications. Therefore, an application is needed to ascertain the desired skills set for membership. The information will also be used to perform Federal Income Tax, FBI, and practitioner checks as required of all members and applicants to the Committees or Council. The tax check waiver permits the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to release information about the applicant which would otherwise be confidential. This information will be used in connection with my application for appointment to membership in one of the IRS Advisory Committee/Council. It is necessary for the purpose of ensuring that all panel members are tax compliant. Information provided will be used to qualify or disqualify individuals to serve as panel members. The information will be used as appropriate by the Taxpayer Advocate service staff, and other appropriate IRS personnel. Affected Public: Individual or Household. Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 492. OMB Number: 1545–1941. Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved collection. Title: Consumer Cooperative Exemption Application. Form: 3491. Abstract: A cooperative uses Form 3491 to apply for exemption from filing information returns (Forms 1099–PATR) E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 61 (Tuesday, March 31, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17147-17150]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-07287]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the GA 400 Transit Initiative in Fulton County, Georgia

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) and Section 4(f) Evaluation.

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Metropolitan 
Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) issue this Notice of Intent 
(NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and an 
evaluation per 49 U.S.C, 303 and 23 CFR 774 (``Section 4(f)'') for the 
extension of high capacity, rapid transit in the Georgia (GA) 400 
corridor in north Fulton County, GA from Dunwoody to Alpharetta. The 
EIS and Section 4(f) Evaluation will be prepared in accordance with 
regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
and 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508, Section 4(f), as well as FTA's 
regulations and guidance implementing NEPA (23 CFR 771).
    The purpose of this NOI is to: (1) Advise the public and agencies 
that MARTA in coordination with the FTA is preparing an EIS for the 
proposed project; (2) provide information including previous planning 
studies and decision, purpose and need, and alternatives being 
considered; and, (3) invite public and agency participation in the EIS 
process, which includes a

[[Page 17148]]

review and written comments on the scope of the EIS.

DATES: Scoping Meeting Dates: Public Scoping meetings will be held on 
April 14, 16, and 30, 2015 at locations within the study area. The 
Scoping meeting locations are accessible by transit and to persons with 
disabilities. Confirmed times and locations will be published in local 
notices and on the project Web site at http://www.itsmarta.com/north-line-400-corr.aspx.
    The dates, times, and locations of the Scoping meetings are:
     Scoping Meeting 1: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at the North 
Fulton Government Service Center located at 7741 Roswell Road #104, 
Sandy Springs, GA 30350.
     Scoping Meeting 2: Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the Georgia 
State University Alpharetta Center located at 3775 Brookside Parkway, 
Alpharetta, GA 30022.
     Scoping Meeting 3: Thursday, April 30, 2015 at the East 
Roswell Park located at 9000 Fouts Road, Roswell, GA 30076.
    All meetings will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Directional 
signage will be posted at all meeting locations to inform participants 
of the meeting room number and location.
    All meeting locations are considered private property. With the 
exception of on-duty law enforcement and/or security officials, weapons 
will not be allowed on the premises of any meeting locations under any 
circumstances. If there are questions concerning weapons policies for 
Scoping meeting locations or if translation, signing services, or other 
special accommodations are needed, please contact MARTA's Office of 
External Affairs, Toni Thornton at tthornton@itsmarta.com or 404-848-
5423 at least one week before the scoping meetings.
    Written Comments: Written or electronic mail (email) comments 
should be sent to Mark Eatman, Project Manager, MARTA, 2424 Piedmont 
Road NE., Atlanta GA 30324-3330 or by email at mreatman@itsmarta.com. 
If submitting an email comment, please type ``Scoping Meeting Comment 
for MARTA'' in the subject line of the email. MARTA maintains a 
Facebook page for the GA 400 Corridor project and will notify Facebook 
followers, in conjunction with publication of this notice, to submit 
comments to the aforementioned email address as well. The address for 
the Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Connect400. Information 
on the project may also be found on the project Web site, http://www.itsmarta.com/north-line-400-corr.aspx.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Stan Mitchell, Environmental 
Protection Specialist, FTA Region IV, 230 Peachtree Street NW., Suite 
1400, Atlanta, GA 30303 or email: stanley.a.mitchell@dot.gov, telephone 
404-865-5643.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Scoping

    FTA and MARTA will undertake a Scoping process that will allow the 
public and interested agencies to comment on the scope of the 
environmental review process. Scoping is the process of determining the 
scope, focus, and content of an EIS. NEPA Scoping has specific 
objectives, identifying issues that will be examined in detail during 
the EIS, while at the same time limiting consideration and development 
of issues that are not truly significant to the purpose and need for 
the project. FTA and MARTA invite all interested individuals, members 
of the public, Native American tribes, and Federal, State, and local 
agencies to review and comment on the scope of the Draft EIS.
    To facilitate public and agency comment, a Scoping Information 
Packet will be prepared for review and will be available before each 
Scoping meeting and for handout at each Scoping meeting. This packet 
will include draft descriptions of the project purpose and need, the 
alternatives considered, impacts to be assessed, early alternatives 
that are currently not being considered, and the public outreach and 
agency coordination process.

II. Study Area Description

    The project study area is located in Fulton County, Georgia, and 
includes small portions of the cities of Sandy Springs, Roswell, 
Milton, Dunwoody, Johns Creek and Alpharetta. The corridor study area 
extends approximately 12 miles along GA 400 from North Springs heavy 
rail station (the current northern terminus of the MARTA heavy rail 
service) northward to Windward Parkway near the Fulton/Forsyth county 
line.

III. Purpose and Need for the Proposed Project

    MARTA invites comments on the following preliminary statement of 
the project's purpose and need:
    The purpose of the GA 400 Corridor project is to provide high 
capacity transit (bus and/or rail) through the corridor study area, 
improve transit linkages and coverage to communities within the study 
area, and enhance mobility and accessibility to and within the study 
area by providing a more robust transit network that offers an 
alternative to automobile travel.
    The GA 400 Corridor is the transportation spine of northern Fulton 
County, one of the fastest growing sub-regions in the metro-Atlanta 
region. The corridor is home to many employment centers, including 
Perimeter Center in the southern portion of the corridor, one of the 
largest employment centers in the region. Transit service to and within 
the study area is provided primarily by MARTA heavy rail and bus. MARTA 
heavy rail service extends from Downtown Atlanta to major retail and 
employment centers, including the Medical Center and Perimeter Center 
in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs in the southern portion of the corridor. 
MARTA bus service in the corridor study area primarily functions as 
feeder service to the North Springs heavy rail station from areas to 
the north, including Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton. The Georgia 
Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) also operates two express bus 
routes during peak hours that connect the southern portion of the GA 
400 corridor to/from north and southeast destinations outside the GA 
400 corridor.
    The following needs for the proposed project stem from existing 
conditions and deficiencies in the corridor study area:
     Travel demand--Increased travel demand and traffic 
congestion;
     Transit mobility--There is inadequate transit connectivity 
within the northern Fulton County study area and between the study area 
and DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Cobb Counties and central Atlanta. In 
addition, east-west transit connectivity is inadequate. The limited 
routes across the Chattahoochee River reflect the inadequate transit 
connectivity;
     Transit travel times--Transit travel times are not 
competitive with auto travel times due to the lack of express service; 
this is true for north-south trips within the study area and for trips 
with origins and destinations outside the study area. Transit and auto 
travel times cannot be compared for east-west trips as there is no 
east-west transit service; and,
     Economic development--Traffic congestion caused by 
insufficient transportation system capacity affects both personal 
travel and goods movement, which constrains economic development 
opportunities.

IV. Alternatives Analysis and Results

    In 2011, MARTA initiated the GA 400 Corridor Transit Initiative 
Alternatives Analysis (AA) to analyze the corridor based on current 
trends and conditions.

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The AA study process identified ways to enhance transportation choices, 
improve transit service, and increase access to jobs and activity 
centers for commuters and residents in the GA 400 corridor. MARTA and 
corridor stakeholders examined a broad range of alternatives for high 
capacity, fixed route transit investments in the corridor. The AA study 
process reduced the number of potentially viable alternatives through a 
multilayered screening methodology and by engaging the public and 
stakeholders. The AA process concluded that the GA 400 right-of-way 
from the North Springs station to Windward Parkway near the Fulton/
Forsyth County line is the preferred alignment. The transit 
technologies requiring further evaluation were identified as heavy rail 
transit (HRT), light rail transit (LRT), and bus rapid transit (BRT). 
Additional technical and public and stakeholder input received during 
Early Scoping (conducted in 2013 and 2014) established the basis for 
selecting a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) within the GA 400 
Corridor.
    The LPA is a HRT line that would cross to the west side of Georgia 
400 north of North Springs Station but south of Spalding Dr. This 
alternative would have a second crossover back to the east side of GA 
400 north of the Chattahoochee River. The HRT alternative received the 
strongest public support throughout the study process due to the higher 
level of transit service for corridor commuters and residents. In 
addition, two BRT alignments will be considered as lower-cost options 
as part of the DEIS. Stakeholder input received during Early Scoping, 
poor performance shown in technical study and preliminary analysis 
eliminated the LRT alternative. The MARTA Board of Directors adopted 
the HRT transit concept as the LPA for the GA 400 corridor along with 
consideration of the additional BRT alternatives on March 5, 2015.
    The results of the AA study, Early Scoping, and the Preliminary 
Engineering and Environmental Analysis study are available at http://www.itsmarta.com/north-line-400-corr.aspx, under Documents.

V. EIS Alternatives Considered

    Based on the technical analysis and input received from the public 
and stakeholders regarding the GA 400 corridor, the following proposed 
alternatives, along with a brief description for each, will be 
evaluated during the EIS:
    No-Build Alternative: The No-Build Alternative includes all 
transportation improvement projects within the GA 400 Corridor project 
area that are programmed in the Atlanta Regional Commission's Regional 
Transportation Plan (RTP) with the exception of the GA 400 Corridor 
project. The No-Build Alternative serves as a comparison baseline for 
the project build alternatives.
    Build Alternative 1: Build Alternative 1 is an extension of MARTA's 
HRT Red line. It includes segments that are at-grade, tunnel and on 
aerial structure. From the North Springs station, the alignment for 
Build Alternative 1 would cross GA 400 south of Spalding Drive to run 
along the west side of GA 400, cross the Chattahoochee River, and then 
cross back over GA 400 to run along the east side of GA 400 to Windward 
Parkway. The Build Alternative 1 is the LPA for the study corridor.
    Build Alternative 2: Build Alternative 2 is a new BRT exclusive 
guideway that includes segments that are at-grade and on aerial 
structure. The alignment would extend from the North Springs station, 
cross GA 400 south of Spalding Drive to run along the west side of GA 
400, cross the Chattahoochee River and then cross over GA 400 to run 
along the east side of GA 400 to Windward Parkway.
    Build Alternative 3: Build Alternative 3 is a new BRT line 
operating in a future Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) 
Managed Lanes project on GA 400 that includes segments that are at-
grade and on aerial structure. Except when serving the station at 
Windward Parkway, this alternative would not cross over GA 400.

VI. Potential Effects

    FTA and MARTA will evaluate project-specific direct, indirect, and 
cumulative effects, including benefits, to the existing human and 
natural environmental setting in which the Build Alternatives could be 
located. The permanent or long-term effects to be investigated during 
this study include effects to public parks and recreation lands 
(Section 4(f) Evaluation), traffic and transportation, land use and 
socioeconomic, visual character and aesthetics, noise and vibration, 
historical and archaeological resources, community effects, and natural 
resources. Temporary effects during construction may include effects to 
transportation and traffic, air quality, water quality, noise and 
vibration, natural resources, and encounters with hazardous materials 
and contaminated soils.
    The analysis will be undertaken in conformity with Federal 
environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders applicable to the 
proposed project during the environmental review process. These 
requirements include but are not limited to NEPA, Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, FTA guidance and relevant 
environmental planning guidelines, Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act (NHPA), Section 4(f) of the Department of 
Transportation Act, Executive Order 12898 regarding minority and low-
income populations, Executive Order 11990 regarding the protection of 
wetlands, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and 
the Clean Air Act of 1970 along with other applicable Federal, state, 
and local laws and regulations. Opportunities for review and comment on 
the potential effects will be provided to the public and agencies. 
Comments received will be considered in the development of the final 
scope and content of the EIS. The final scope and content of the EIS 
will be documented in the Scoping Summary Report and the Annotated 
Outline for the EIS.

VII. FTA's Public and Agency Involvement Procedures

    The regulations implementing NEPA and FTA guidance call for public 
involvement in the EIS process. In accordance with these regulations 
and guidance, FTA and MARTA will: (1) Extend an invitation to other 
Federal and non-Federal (state and/or local) agencies and Native 
American Tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project to 
become participating agencies (any interested agency that does not 
receive an invitation can notify any of the contact persons listed 
earlier in this NOI); (2) provide opportunity for involvement by 
participating agencies and the public to help define the purpose and 
need for the 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.
    Input on a Public Involvement Plan will be solicited at Scoping 
meetings and on the project Web site. The documents will outline public 
and agency involvement for the project. Once completed, these documents 
will be available on the project Web site or through written request to 
the MARTA Project Manager.

VIII. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act seeks, in part, to minimize the cost of 
the taxpayer of the creation, collection, maintenance, use, 
dissemination, and disposition of information. Consistent with this 
goal and with the principles of

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economy and efficiency in government, it is FTA's policy to limit, 
insofar as possible, distribution of complete printed sets of NEPA 
documents. Accordingly, unless a specific request for a complete 
printed set is received before the document is printed, FTA and its 
grant applicants (including MARTA) will only distribute electronic 
copies of the NEPA document. A complete printed set of the 
environmental documents produced for this project will be available for 
review at the grant applicant's office (MARTA Headquarters office 
listed in ADDRESSES above) and in other possible locations within the 
project corridor. An electronic copy of the complete environmental 
documents will be available on the grant applicant's project Web site 
at http://www.itsmarta.com/north-line-400-corr.aspx.

IX. Summary and Next Steps

    With the publication of this NOI, the Scoping process and the 
public comment period for the project begins allowing the public to 
offer input on the scope of the EIS until May 11, 2015. In accordance 
with the Federal regulations, this date is at least 45 days following 
the publication of this NOI. Public comments will be received through 
those methods explained earlier in this NOI and will be incorporated 
into a Scoping Summary Report. The Scoping Summary Report will detail 
the scope of the EIS and the potential environmental effects that will 
be considered during the study period. After the completion of the 
Draft EIS, a public and agency review period will allow for input on 
the Draft EIS and these comments will be incorporated into the Final 
EIS for this project. In accordance with Section 1319 of the Moving 
Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Accelerated 
Decision-making in Environmental Reviews, FTA may consider the use of 
errata sheets attached to the DEIS in place of a traditional Final EIS 
and/or development a single environmental decision document that 
consists of a Final EIS and a Record of Decision (ROD), if certain 
conditions exist following the conclusion of the public and agency 
review period for the project's Draft EIS.

Yvette G. Taylor,
Regional Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, Atlanta, GA.
[FR Doc. 2015-07287 Filed 3-30-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P