Environmental Impact Statement for West Lake Corridor Project in Lake County, Indiana and Cook County, Illinois
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: https://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. 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.
Notice of Proposed Buy America Waiver for a Variable Refrigerant Flow HVAC System
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) received a request for a waiver to permit the purchase of a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC system that is non-compliant with Buy America requirements using FTA funding. The request is from the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) for the Omnitrans San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC). In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(3)(A), FTA is providing notice of the waiver request and seeks public comment before deciding whether to grant the request. If granted, the waiver would apply only to the FTA-funded procurement of a VRF HVAC system by SANBAG.
Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program Application Requirements
This final rule amends the application requirements for the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (Program). This rulemaking is prompted by enactment of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which converted the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Program into a permanent program, allowed any State to apply for the Program, created a renewal process for Program participation, and expanded the scope of the Secretary's responsibilities that may be assigned and assumed under the Program to environmental review responsibilities for railroad, public transportation, and multimodal projects, in addition to highway projects.
Limitation on Claims Against Proposed Public Transportation Projects
This notice announces final environmental actions taken by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for projects in San Francisco, CA; Mukilteo, WA; and Santa Clara County, CA. The purpose of this notice is to announce publicly the environmental decisions by FTA on the subject projects and to activate the limitation on any claims that may challenge these final environmental actions.
Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program (Ladders of Opportunity Initiative)
This action withdraws an FTA notice of funding availability (NOFA), Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program Ladders of Opportunity Initiative, published in the Federal Register on September 5, 2014 (79 FR 53095). FTA will issue a revised NOFA for this program.
Notice of Proposed Buy America Waiver for the Pad and Rubber Boot of a Concrete Block Used in New York City Transit South Ferry Station's Low Vibration Track System
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is waiving its Buy America requirements for the procurement by New York City Transit (NYCT), an agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), of pads and rubber boots of a concrete block used in its Low Vibration Track (LVT) system on the basis of non-availability. The procurement for the pads and rubber boots are part of the South Ferry Station Project. This waiver is limited to this one procurement for the South Ferry Station Project, and conditioned upon the requirement that NYCT must complete the safety testing of U.S.-manufactured pads and rubber boots necessary to meets its specifications within the timeframe provided herein and substitute U.S.-manufactured pads and rubber boots for the foreign-made pads and rubber boots to the extent possible.
Additional Authorities for Planning and Environmental Linkages
This NPRM provides interested parties with the opportunity to comment on proposed revisions to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) statewide and nonmetropolitan and metropolitan transportation planning regulations related to the use of and reliance on planning products developed during the transportation planning process for project development and the environmental review process. The revisions are prompted by the enactment of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Specifically, through this rulemaking FHWA and FTA would interpret and implement MAP-21's additional authority for FHWA and FTA to use planning products developed by States, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), and other agencies during the transportation planning process in the environmental review process for a project.
Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program (Ladders of Opportunity Initiative)
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program Ladders of Opportunity Initiative. FTA will make available approximately $7.85 million in funds appropriated in Fiscal Year 2013 and Prior Years, in support of this effort. This NOFA solicits proposals that promote innovative nationally and regionally significant public transportation workforce development models and programs that invest in America's economic growth and help build ladders of opportunity into the middle class for American workers.
Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of $19.98 million of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014 funds under the Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning as authorized under Section 20005(b) of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Public Law 112-141, July 6, 2012. The program augments FTA's Fixed Guideway Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program by supporting comprehensive planning associated with new fixed guideway and core capacity improvement projects that will help the projects develop information to address the CIG Program's evaluation criteria and thus be more competitive for that program's funding. This notice solicits proposals to compete for FY 2013 and FY 2014 funding under the Pilot Program for TOD Planning and may include additional funds made available under future appropriations. It outlines the process to apply for funding, identifies FTA's priorities for these discretionary funds, and establishes the criteria FTA will use to identify meritorious projects for funding. This announcement is available on the FTA Web site at: https://www.fta.dot.gov. FTA may announce final selections on the Web site and in the Federal Register. Additionally, a synopsis of this funding opportunity will be posted in the FIND module of the government-wide electronic grants (GRANTS.GOV) Web site at https:// www.grants.gov.
Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning
The FHWA and FTA are extending the comment period for a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and request for comments, which was published on June 2, 2014. The original comment period is set to close on September 2, 2014. The extension is based on concern expressed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) that the September 2 closing date does not provide sufficient time to review and provide comprehensive comments on the NPRM. The FHWA and FTA recognize that others interested in commenting may have similar concerns and agrees that the comment period should be extended. Therefore, the closing date for comments is changed to October 2, 2014, which will provide AASHTO and others interested in commenting additional time to discuss, evaluate, and submit responses to the docket.