Environmental Impact Statement for West Lake Corridor Project in Lake County, Indiana and Cook County, Illinois
Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.
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: http://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.