Environmental Impact Statement for the Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) Project, Between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC, 85319-85321 [2016-28285]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 227 / Friday, November 25, 2016 / Notices Elwood F. Gorom (WA) Mike W. Holland (IL) Dan M. McAllister (WI) Paul F. Rivers (MN) Marcus V. Romo (ID) Wayne L. Snyder (OH) Justin K. Zimmerschied (KS) The drivers were included in Docket Nos. FMCSA–2011–0383. Their exemptions are effective as of April 27, 2016 and will expire on April 27, 2018. As of April 30, 2016, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, the following 2 individuals, have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce (79 FR 10612; 79 FR 14579; 79 FR 28590; 79 FR 27685): Charles L. Bryant (PA) Christopher P. Martin (NH) The drivers were included in Docket Nos. FMCSA–2014–0012; FMCSA– 2014–0013. Their exemptions are effective as of April 30, 2016 and will expire on April 30, 2018. Each of the 47 drivers in the aforementioned groups qualifies for a renewal of the exemption. They have maintained their required medical monitoring and have not exhibited any medical issues that would compromise their ability to safely operate a CMV during the previous 2-year exemption period. These factors provide an adequate basis for predicting each driver’s ability to continue to drive safely in interstate commerce. Therefore, FMCSA concludes that extending the exemption for each of the 47 drivers for a period of two years is likely to achieve a level of safety equal to that existing without the exemption. The drivers were included in docket numbers FMCSA– 2011–0382; FMCSA–2011–0383; FMCSA–2013–0194; FMCSA–2014– 0012; FMCSA–2014–0013. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Request for Comments FMCSA will review comments received at any time concerning a particular driver’s safety record and determine if the continuation of the exemption is consistent with the requirements at 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315. However, FMCSA requests that interested parties with specific data concerning the safety records of these drivers submit comments by December 27, 2016. FMCSA believes that the requirements for a renewal of an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 can be satisfied by initially granting the renewal and then requesting and evaluating, if needed, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Nov 23, 2016 Jkt 241001 subsequent comments submitted by interested parties. As indicated above, the Agency previously published notices of final disposition announcing its decision to exempt these 47 individuals from rule prohibiting persons with ITDM from operating CMVs in interstate commerce in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3). The final decision to grant an exemption to each of these individuals was made on the merits of each case and made only after careful consideration of the comments received to its notices of applications. The notices of applications stated in detail the medical condition of each applicant for an exemption from rule prohibiting persons with ITDM from operating CMVs in interstate commerce. That information is available by consulting the above cited Federal Register publications. Interested parties or organizations possessing information that would otherwise show that any, or all, of these drivers are not currently achieving the statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency will evaluate any adverse evidencesubmitted and, if safety is being compromised or if continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA will take immediate steps to revoke the exemption of a driver. Submitting Comments You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket numbers FMCSA–2011–0382; FMCSA–2011– 0383; FMCSA–2013–0194; FMCSA– 2014–0012; FMCSA–2014–0013 and click the search button. When the new screen appears, click on the blue ‘‘Comment Now!’’ button on the right hand side of the page. On the new page, enter information required including the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 85319 facility, please enclose a stamped, selfaddressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. FMCSA may issue a final determination at any time after the close of the comment period. Viewing Comments and Documents To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this preamble, go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the search box insert the docket number FMCSA–2011–0382; FMCSA–2011– 0383; FMCSA–2013–0194; FMCSA– 2014–0012; FMCSA–2014–0013 and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, click ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ and you will find all documents and comments related to this notice. Issued on: November 16, 2016. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2016–28369 Filed 11–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration Environmental Impact Statement for the Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) Project, Between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). AGENCY: FRA announces its intent to prepare an EIS for the BaltimoreWashington Superconducting Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) (SCMAGLEV) Project (Proposed Action) jointly with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). The Proposed Action consists of the construction and operation of a high-speed SCMAGLEV train system between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD with an intermediate stop at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) Airport. FRA and MDOT will develop the EIS in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq. DATES: Written comments on the scope of the Project EIS should be provided to the address below by December 27, 2016. Public scoping meetings are anticipated for December 2016 and January 2017. Additional updated information and scoping materials is available through the Project Web site: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25NON1.SGM 25NON1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 85320 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 227 / Friday, November 25, 2016 / Notices http://www.BaltimoreWashington SCMaglevProject.com. ADDRESSES: The public and other interested parties are encouraged to submit written scoping comments by mail, by email, or in person at the scoping meetings. Scoping comments can be sent by mail to Bradley M. Smith, Director of the Office of Freight and Multimodalism, Maryland Department of Transportation, 7201 Corporate Center Drive, Hanover, Maryland 21076, 410–865–1097; or via email to: bsmith9@mdot.state.md.us. Comments may also be provided orally or in writing at scoping meetings. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting times and addresses. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brandon Bratcher, Environmental Protection Specialist, USDOT Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Program Delivery, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., MS–20, Washington, DC 20590; 202–493–0844; brandon.bratcher@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FRA is an operating administration of DOT and is responsible for overseeing the safety of railroad operations, including the safety of any proposed rail ground transportation system. FRA is also authorized to provide, subject to appropriations, funding for intercity passenger rail and rail capital investments. In 2016, FRA awarded MDOT a grant to prepare an EIS for the Proposed Action. No funding, however, has been appropriated at this time to fund construction of the Proposed Action. FRA is the lead Federal agency under NEPA; MDOT is the joint lead agency (40 CFR 1501.5(b) and 1506.2(a)). FRA and MDOT will prepare the EIS in compliance with: NEPA; the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508); FRA Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (FRA’s Environmental Procedures) (64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999; 78 FR 2713, Jan. 14, 2013); 23 U.S.C. 139; and 49 U.S.C. 24201. After release and circulation of a Draft EIS for public comment, FRA intends to issue a single document that consists of the Final EIS and Record of Decision under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21) (Pub. L. 112– 141, Section 1319(b)) unless it determines the statutory criteria or practicability considerations preclude issuing a combined document. The EIS will document compliance with applicable Federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations, including: Section 106 of the National VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Nov 23, 2016 Jkt 241001 Historic Preservation Act; the Clean Air Act; the Clean Water Act; Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (Section 4(f)); the Endangered Species Act; Executive Order 11988 and DOT Order 5650.2 on Floodplain Management; Executive Order 11990 on Protection of Wetlands; the Magnuson-Stevens Act; the Coastal Zone Management Act; and Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. The EIS is intended to be a project-level EIS and will serve as the NEPA compliance for potential future funding or other federal, state, and local approvals of the Proposed Action as appropriate. Project Background Sections 1101(a)(18) and 1307 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU) (Pub. L. 109–59), as amended by section 102 of the SAFETEA–LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110–244), authorized funding for pre-construction planning activities for eligible Maglev transportation projects located east of the Mississippi River and between Las Vegas and Primm, Nevada. In 2016 FRA awarded $27.8 million in SAFETEA–LU Maglev funds to MDOT to prepare preliminary engineering and a NEPA analysis for the Proposed Action. Previously, in 2003, FRA and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) prepared a Draft EIS and Section 4(f) Evaluation (2003 Draft EIS) for a similar proposed project authorized under the Magnetic Levitation Transportation Technology Deployment Program (23 U.S.C. 322). The 2003 Draft EIS studied the potential impacts of construction of a Maglev alignment between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, as well as potential station locations: One in downtown Washington, DC; one at BWI; and one in downtown Baltimore, MD. FRA and MTA published a Final EIS in 2007 (2007 Final EIS), but FRA did not issue a Record of Decision and the project was not advanced further. In November 2015, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved the Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail’s (BWRR) application to acquire a passenger railroad franchise to deploy a SCMAGLEV system between Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. BWRR is a private corporation and, as the Project sponsor and developer of the proposed SCMAGLEV service between Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC, will work with Federal and state agencies, including FRA and MDOT, to carry out the project. PO 00000 Frm 00117 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Project Description FRA and MDOT will complete the environmental and engineering studies for a proposed Baltimore-Washington SCMAGLEV train system between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, with an intermediate stop at BWI Airport. FRA and MDOT anticipate the study area will be approximately 40 miles long and 10 miles wide. The proposed study area is roughly bounded on the west by Interstate 95 and on the east by the former WashingtonBaltimore & Annapolis Electric Railroad alignment. It includes portions of the City of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and Prince George’s County in Maryland, and Washington, DC. BWRR has indicated it wishes to develop a SCMAGLEV system, potentially extending as far north as Boston, MA and south to Charlotte, NC. Such a project or projects will not be addressed in the EIS FRA and MDOT are preparing, but could be subject to separate NEPA review in the future, as appropriate. BWRR’s proposed SCMAGLEV system would be designed to provide approximately 15-minute service between the new Baltimore and Washington stations, and would run on a new, high-quality guideway with bidirectional service, an automatic train control system, and no at-grade crossings. BWRR anticipates the project would be funded by a mix of federal, international, and private funding, and would include construction of the new SCMAGLEV guideway, stations, and maintenance facilities. Purpose and Need Statement The purpose of BWRR’s Proposed Action is to increase capacity, reduce travel time, and improve both reliability and mobility options between Baltimore and Washington. The population in the Baltimore-Washington area makes up one of the largest and densest population centers in the United States. Over the next 30 years the population in the area is projected to increase by approximately 30 percent. Similarly, the demand on the transportation infrastructure between Baltimore and Washington will continue to increase along major roadways and railways including Interstate 95, the BaltimoreWashington Parkway (MD 295), US 29, US 1, and the Northeast Corridor (NEC) thereby decreasing the level of service, reliability, mobility, and potentially decreasing safety. The Baltimore-Washington area is served by the NEC rail network that runs parallel to Interstate 95 in the area E:\FR\FM\25NON1.SGM 25NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 227 / Friday, November 25, 2016 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES and spans from Washington, DC to Boston, MA. Amtrak, commuter railroads, and freight railroads operate a variety of services on the NEC. In the Baltimore-Washington area, Amtrak runs intercity passenger rail service, Maryland Area Regional Commuter operates commuter rail service, and CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway run freight trains during offpeak times over portions of the NEC between Baltimore and Washington. Each of these services competes for operational times for service on the existing NEC and demand continues to increase. Without additional transportation improvements and capacity within the Baltimore-Washington area, economic development and growth opportunities will be restricted. As congestion increases on the NEC and on the region’s highways, the demand for continued economic development will be impacted, including, for example, tourism. To address these issues, in 2012 FRA launched the NEC FUTURE program to consider the role of rail passenger service in the context of current and future transportation demands and to evaluate the appropriate level of capacity improvements to make across the NEC. Through NEC FUTURE, FRA will determine a long-term vision and investment program for the NEC documented in a Tier 1 EIS and Service Development Plan. FRA published a Tier 1 Draft EIS in November 2015; however, the Draft EIS evaluated steelwheel technologies as a way to serve the passenger rail needs of the region. It left open the possibility and did not preclude the study of and investment in advanced guideway and other new technologies, such as SCMAGLEV, to meet the transportation needs of the Northeast, including the BaltimoreWashington area. Additional information on the NEC FUTURE Program is available at: http:// www.necfuture.com/. Proposed Alternatives To Consider The EIS evaluating the SCMAGLEV proposal will consider a range of reasonable alternatives that FRA and MDOT will develop based on the purpose and need for the Proposed Action, information obtained through the scoping process, and previous studies, including the 2003 Draft EIS and 2007 Final EIS. The 2003 Draft EIS identified three concepts that FRA and MDOT have included in the initial range of alternatives to be considered in the EIS. FRA and MDOT will evaluate and screen those earlier concepts as well as additional options for VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:57 Nov 23, 2016 Jkt 241001 elimination or further refinement during the NEPA process. Alternatives will include a no-build alternative and a reasonable range of build alternatives. Each build alternative will include alignments that serve Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and BWI Airport. A final alignment has not been determined. Possible Effects The EIS will analyze the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the alternatives on the social, economic, and environmental resources in the study area. This analysis will include identification of study areas appropriate for each resource, documentation of the affected environment, and identification of measures to avoid and/or mitigate significant adverse impacts. FRA and MDOT will evaluate the impacts of the Proposed Action using data and field analyses. The analysis of resources will be consistent with NEPA, CEQ regulations and FRA’s Environmental Procedures. Scoping, Public Involvement, and Agency Coordination This Notice initiates the scoping process under NEPA. FRA and MDOT invite comments from the public and encourage broad public participation throughout the NEPA process. In particular, FRA and MDOT invite comments from the public, Federal, state, and local agencies, and all interested parties on the scope of the EIS including: The purpose and need for the Project; alternatives to study; the selection of alternatives; environmental effects to consider and evaluate; methodologies to use for evaluating effects; the approach for public and agency involvement; and mitigation measures associated with the potential future construction, operation, and maintenance of the Proposed Action. This will ensure all relevant issues, constraints, and reasonable alternatives are addressed early in the development of the EIS. FRA and MDOT will contact directly the appropriate Federal, state, and local agencies as well as private organizations with a known interest in the Proposed Action. FRA and MDOT will request federal agencies with jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to potential environmental issues to act as a cooperating agency in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.16. At various milestones during the development of the EIS, FRA and MDOT will provide additional opportunities for public involvement, such as public meetings and hearings, open houses, and requests for comment on the Draft EIS. PO 00000 Frm 00118 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 85321 Currently, scoping meetings for this Project are scheduled for the dates and locations below: December 10, 2016: 10 a.m.–12 p.m., Lindale Middle School, 415 Andover Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD December 12, 2016: 5 p.m.–7 p.m., Arundel Middle School, 1179 Hammond Ln., Odenton, MD December 13, 2016: 5 p.m.–7 p.m., Du Burns Coppermine Fieldhouse, 3100 Boston St., Baltimore, MD December 14, 2016: 5 p.m.–7 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW., Washington, DC Additional information, including updated meeting schedule, is located on the Project Web site (http:// www.BaltimoreWashington SCMaglevProject.com). Jamie Rennert, Director, Office of Program Delivery. [FR Doc. 2016–28285 Filed 11–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration [Docket Number FRA–2016–0002–N–27] Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), this notice announces that the renewals and reinstatements of the information collection requests (ICRs) abstracted below are being forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICRs describe the information collections and their expected burden. On September 23, 2016, FRA published a notice providing a 60-day period for public comment on the ICRs. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before December 27, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Robert Brogan, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Office of Railroad Safety, Safety Regulatory Analysis Division, RRS–21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Mail Stop 25, Washington, DC 20590, (202) 493–6292, or Ms. Kimberly Toone, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Office of SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25NON1.SGM 25NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 227 (Friday, November 25, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 85319-85321]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-28285]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration


Environmental Impact Statement for the Baltimore-Washington 
Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) Project, Between Baltimore, Maryland 
and Washington, DC

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS).

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

SUMMARY: FRA announces its intent to prepare an EIS for the Baltimore-
Washington Superconducting Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) (SCMAGLEV) 
Project (Proposed Action) jointly with the Maryland Department of 
Transportation (MDOT). The Proposed Action consists of the construction 
and operation of a high-speed SCMAGLEV train system between Washington, 
DC and Baltimore, MD with an intermediate stop at Baltimore/Washington 
International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) Airport. FRA and MDOT will 
develop the EIS in compliance with the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.

DATES: Written comments on the scope of the Project EIS should be 
provided to the address below by December 27, 2016. Public scoping 
meetings are anticipated for December 2016 and January 2017. Additional 
updated information and scoping materials is available through the 
Project Web site:

[[Page 85320]]

http://www.BaltimoreWashingtonSCMaglevProject.com.

ADDRESSES: The public and other interested parties are encouraged to 
submit written scoping comments by mail, by email, or in person at the 
scoping meetings. Scoping comments can be sent by mail to Bradley M. 
Smith, Director of the Office of Freight and Multimodalism, Maryland 
Department of Transportation, 7201 Corporate Center Drive, Hanover, 
Maryland 21076, 410-865-1097; or via email to: 
bsmith9@mdot.state.md.us.
    Comments may also be provided orally or in writing at scoping 
meetings. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting times 
and addresses.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brandon Bratcher, Environmental 
Protection Specialist, USDOT Federal Railroad Administration, Office of 
Program Delivery, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., MS-20, Washington, DC 
20590; 202-493-0844; brandon.bratcher@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  FRA is an operating administration of DOT 
and is responsible for overseeing the safety of railroad operations, 
including the safety of any proposed rail ground transportation system. 
FRA is also authorized to provide, subject to appropriations, funding 
for intercity passenger rail and rail capital investments. In 2016, FRA 
awarded MDOT a grant to prepare an EIS for the Proposed Action. No 
funding, however, has been appropriated at this time to fund 
construction of the Proposed Action.
    FRA is the lead Federal agency under NEPA; MDOT is the joint lead 
agency (40 CFR 1501.5(b) and 1506.2(a)). FRA and MDOT will prepare the 
EIS in compliance with: NEPA; the Council on Environmental Quality 
(CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); FRA 
Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (FRA's Environmental 
Procedures) (64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999; 78 FR 2713, Jan. 14, 2013); 23 
U.S.C. 139; and 49 U.S.C. 24201. After release and circulation of a 
Draft EIS for public comment, FRA intends to issue a single document 
that consists of the Final EIS and Record of Decision under the Moving 
Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) (Pub. L. 112-141, 
Section 1319(b)) unless it determines the statutory criteria or 
practicability considerations preclude issuing a combined document.
    The EIS will document compliance with applicable Federal, state, 
and local environmental laws and regulations, including: Section 106 of 
the National Historic Preservation Act; the Clean Air Act; the Clean 
Water Act; Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 
1966 (Section 4(f)); the Endangered Species Act; Executive Order 11988 
and DOT Order 5650.2 on Floodplain Management; Executive Order 11990 on 
Protection of Wetlands; the Magnuson-Stevens Act; the Coastal Zone 
Management Act; and Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. The 
EIS is intended to be a project-level EIS and will serve as the NEPA 
compliance for potential future funding or other federal, state, and 
local approvals of the Proposed Action as appropriate.

Project Background

    Sections 1101(a)(18) and 1307 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, 
Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) 
(Pub. L. 109-59), as amended by section 102 of the SAFETEA-LU Technical 
Corrections Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-244), authorized funding for pre-
construction planning activities for eligible Maglev transportation 
projects located east of the Mississippi River and between Las Vegas 
and Primm, Nevada. In 2016 FRA awarded $27.8 million in SAFETEA-LU 
Maglev funds to MDOT to prepare preliminary engineering and a NEPA 
analysis for the Proposed Action.
    Previously, in 2003, FRA and the Maryland Transit Administration 
(MTA) prepared a Draft EIS and Section 4(f) Evaluation (2003 Draft EIS) 
for a similar proposed project authorized under the Magnetic Levitation 
Transportation Technology Deployment Program (23 U.S.C. 322). The 2003 
Draft EIS studied the potential impacts of construction of a Maglev 
alignment between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, as well as 
potential station locations: One in downtown Washington, DC; one at 
BWI; and one in downtown Baltimore, MD. FRA and MTA published a Final 
EIS in 2007 (2007 Final EIS), but FRA did not issue a Record of 
Decision and the project was not advanced further.
    In November 2015, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved 
the Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail's (BWRR) application to acquire a 
passenger railroad franchise to deploy a SCMAGLEV system between 
Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. BWRR is a private corporation and, as 
the Project sponsor and developer of the proposed SCMAGLEV service 
between Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC, will work with Federal and 
state agencies, including FRA and MDOT, to carry out the project.

Project Description

    FRA and MDOT will complete the environmental and engineering 
studies for a proposed Baltimore-Washington SCMAGLEV train system 
between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, with an intermediate stop at 
BWI Airport. FRA and MDOT anticipate the study area will be 
approximately 40 miles long and 10 miles wide. The proposed study area 
is roughly bounded on the west by Interstate 95 and on the east by the 
former Washington-Baltimore & Annapolis Electric Railroad alignment. It 
includes portions of the City of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Howard 
County, Anne Arundel County, and Prince George's County in Maryland, 
and Washington, DC. BWRR has indicated it wishes to develop a SCMAGLEV 
system, potentially extending as far north as Boston, MA and south to 
Charlotte, NC. Such a project or projects will not be addressed in the 
EIS FRA and MDOT are preparing, but could be subject to separate NEPA 
review in the future, as appropriate.
    BWRR's proposed SCMAGLEV system would be designed to provide 
approximately 15-minute service between the new Baltimore and 
Washington stations, and would run on a new, high-quality guideway with 
bi-directional service, an automatic train control system, and no at-
grade crossings. BWRR anticipates the project would be funded by a mix 
of federal, international, and private funding, and would include 
construction of the new SCMAGLEV guideway, stations, and maintenance 
facilities.

Purpose and Need Statement

    The purpose of BWRR's Proposed Action is to increase capacity, 
reduce travel time, and improve both reliability and mobility options 
between Baltimore and Washington. The population in the Baltimore-
Washington area makes up one of the largest and densest population 
centers in the United States. Over the next 30 years the population in 
the area is projected to increase by approximately 30 percent. 
Similarly, the demand on the transportation infrastructure between 
Baltimore and Washington will continue to increase along major roadways 
and railways including Interstate 95, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway 
(MD 295), US 29, US 1, and the Northeast Corridor (NEC) thereby 
decreasing the level of service, reliability, mobility, and potentially 
decreasing safety.
    The Baltimore-Washington area is served by the NEC rail network 
that runs parallel to Interstate 95 in the area

[[Page 85321]]

and spans from Washington, DC to Boston, MA. Amtrak, commuter 
railroads, and freight railroads operate a variety of services on the 
NEC. In the Baltimore-Washington area, Amtrak runs intercity passenger 
rail service, Maryland Area Regional Commuter operates commuter rail 
service, and CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway run 
freight trains during off-peak times over portions of the NEC between 
Baltimore and Washington. Each of these services competes for 
operational times for service on the existing NEC and demand continues 
to increase.
    Without additional transportation improvements and capacity within 
the Baltimore-Washington area, economic development and growth 
opportunities will be restricted. As congestion increases on the NEC 
and on the region's highways, the demand for continued economic 
development will be impacted, including, for example, tourism.
    To address these issues, in 2012 FRA launched the NEC FUTURE 
program to consider the role of rail passenger service in the context 
of current and future transportation demands and to evaluate the 
appropriate level of capacity improvements to make across the NEC. 
Through NEC FUTURE, FRA will determine a long-term vision and 
investment program for the NEC documented in a Tier 1 EIS and Service 
Development Plan. FRA published a Tier 1 Draft EIS in November 2015; 
however, the Draft EIS evaluated steel-wheel technologies as a way to 
serve the passenger rail needs of the region. It left open the 
possibility and did not preclude the study of and investment in 
advanced guideway and other new technologies, such as SCMAGLEV, to meet 
the transportation needs of the Northeast, including the Baltimore-
Washington area. Additional information on the NEC FUTURE Program is 
available at: http://www.necfuture.com/.

Proposed Alternatives To Consider

    The EIS evaluating the SCMAGLEV proposal will consider a range of 
reasonable alternatives that FRA and MDOT will develop based on the 
purpose and need for the Proposed Action, information obtained through 
the scoping process, and previous studies, including the 2003 Draft EIS 
and 2007 Final EIS. The 2003 Draft EIS identified three concepts that 
FRA and MDOT have included in the initial range of alternatives to be 
considered in the EIS. FRA and MDOT will evaluate and screen those 
earlier concepts as well as additional options for elimination or 
further refinement during the NEPA process. Alternatives will include a 
no-build alternative and a reasonable range of build alternatives. Each 
build alternative will include alignments that serve Washington, DC, 
Baltimore, MD, and BWI Airport. A final alignment has not been 
determined.

Possible Effects

    The EIS will analyze the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative 
effects of the alternatives on the social, economic, and environmental 
resources in the study area. This analysis will include identification 
of study areas appropriate for each resource, documentation of the 
affected environment, and identification of measures to avoid and/or 
mitigate significant adverse impacts.
    FRA and MDOT will evaluate the impacts of the Proposed Action using 
data and field analyses. The analysis of resources will be consistent 
with NEPA, CEQ regulations and FRA's Environmental Procedures.

Scoping, Public Involvement, and Agency Coordination

    This Notice initiates the scoping process under NEPA. FRA and MDOT 
invite comments from the public and encourage broad public 
participation throughout the NEPA process. In particular, FRA and MDOT 
invite comments from the public, Federal, state, and local agencies, 
and all interested parties on the scope of the EIS including: The 
purpose and need for the Project; alternatives to study; the selection 
of alternatives; environmental effects to consider and evaluate; 
methodologies to use for evaluating effects; the approach for public 
and agency involvement; and mitigation measures associated with the 
potential future construction, operation, and maintenance of the 
Proposed Action. This will ensure all relevant issues, constraints, and 
reasonable alternatives are addressed early in the development of the 
EIS. FRA and MDOT will contact directly the appropriate Federal, state, 
and local agencies as well as private organizations with a known 
interest in the Proposed Action. FRA and MDOT will request federal 
agencies with jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to 
potential environmental issues to act as a cooperating agency in 
accordance with 40 CFR 1501.16.
    At various milestones during the development of the EIS, FRA and 
MDOT will provide additional opportunities for public involvement, such 
as public meetings and hearings, open houses, and requests for comment 
on the Draft EIS.
    Currently, scoping meetings for this Project are scheduled for the 
dates and locations below:

December 10, 2016: 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Lindale Middle School, 415 Andover 
Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD
December 12, 2016: 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Arundel Middle School, 1179 Hammond 
Ln., Odenton, MD
December 13, 2016: 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Du Burns Coppermine Fieldhouse, 3100 
Boston St., Baltimore, MD
December 14, 2016: 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial 
Library, 901 G St. NW., Washington, DC

    Additional information, including updated meeting schedule, is 
located on the Project Web site (http://www.BaltimoreWashingtonSCMaglevProject.com).


Jamie Rennert,
Director, Office of Program Delivery.
[FR Doc. 2016-28285 Filed 11-23-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-06-P