The grant applicant, in consultation with FTA, shall, at the earliest appropriate time, begin coordination with interested agencies to advise them of the planned scope of the project and to achieve the following objectives: determine which aspects of the proposed action have potential for social, economic, or environmental impact; identify alternatives and measures which might mitigate adverse environmental impacts; and identify other environmental review and consultation requirements which should be performed concurrently with the EA.
Early coordination with appropriate agencies and the public aids in determining the scope of the EA, the level of analysis of various impacts, and related environmental requirements. These determinations involve the exchange of information from the inception of a proposal for action to preparation of the EA document. FTA encourages early consultation through one-on-one meetings with responsible officials and agencies that may have an interest in the proposed action.
Early coordination also serves to identify related environmental laws and requirements and the need for specific studies and findings which would be developed concurrently with the EA. During the early coordination process, the grant applicant or FTA may request other agencies having an interest in the action to participate in the evaluation of impacts. Agencies with special expertise may be invited to become cooperating agencies. Agencies with jurisdiction by law must be requested to become cooperating agencies. The results of agency coordination shall be included in the EA.