Preparation of Environmental Impact Statement for the Downtown Birmingham/University of Alabama Birmingham Activity Centers (a.k.a. In-town Transit Partnership Project)
The Federal Transit Administration and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham are conducting an alternatives analysis and preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for transit improvements in the Downtown Birmingham/University of Alabama Birmingham Activity Centers. The FTA is the lead federal agency and the DEIS will be prepared in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the applicable regulations for implementing NEPA, as set forth in 23 CFR part 771 and 40 CFR parts 1500-1508, as well as applicable laws and regulations including section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, the Clean Air Act, and Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. The project will consider the following alternatives: (1) A No- Build Alternative consisting of improvements included in the Birmingham MPO 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan; (2) Transportation System Management (TSM) Alternative that includes all reasonable cost- effective transit service improvements in the study area short of the major investment in a New starts project; (3) Build Alternative: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project using rubber tired vehicles operating either in mixed traffic or along an exclusive right-of-way; and (4) Build Alternative: Streetcar using light rail technology operating along tracks embedded in the pavement operating in either mixed traffic or along an exclusive right-of-way. The type, location, and need for ancillary facilities such as maintenance facilities will also be considered for each alternative. In addition, alternatives that are identified during the scoping process will be evaluated in the AA. Scoping will be accomplished through correspondence and discussions with interested persons; organizations; and Federal, State, and local agencies; and through public and agency meetings. Depending on the outcome of the scoping process and the analysis of a range of transit alternatives in the DEIS, a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) will be selected and addressed in the Final EIS (FEIS). The FEIS will address the potential impacts of the selected investment strategy and a No- Build Alternative.