[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 249 (Wednesday, December 29, 1999)]
[Notices]
[Pages 73117-73118]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-33788]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration


Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Maglev 
Deployment Program

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

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

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SUMMARY: FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that FRA will 
prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for the 
Maglev Deployment Program, to solicit public and agency input into the 
development of the scope of that PEIS, and to advise the public that 
outreach activities conducted by the program participants will be 
considered in the preparation of the PEIS.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding the 
programmatic environmental review, please contact: David Valenstein, 
Environmental Program Manager, Office of Passenger Programs, Federal 
Railroad Administration (RDV 10), 400 Seventh Street, SW (Mail Stop 
20), Washington, D.C. 20590, (telephone 202 493-6368). For information 
regarding the Maglev Deployment Program, please contact: Arnold 
Kupferman, Maglev Program Manager, Office of Railroad Development, 
Federal Railroad Administration (RDV-2), 400 Seventh Street, SW (Mail 
Stop 20), Washington, D.C. 20590, (telephone 202 493-6370). For further 
information regarding any of the individual projects, please contact 
the applicant representatives identified below under the Alternative 
Sites heading.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 1218 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA 21) added section 322 to title 23 of the United States Code. 
Section 322 provides a total of $55 million for Fiscal Years 1999 
through 2001 for transportation systems employing magnetic levitation 
(``Maglev'') and an authorization of appropriations for an additional 
$950 million over Fiscal Years 2000 through 2003. Responsibility for 
implementing the program has been delegated by the Secretary of 
Transportation to the Federal Railroad Administrator. Section 322 
requires FRA to establish project selection criteria, to solicit 
applications for funding, to select one or more projects to receive 
financial assistance for preconstruction planning activities, and, 
after completion of such activities, to provide financial assistance 
for final design, engineering, and construction activities leading to 
the implementation of a maglev deployment project.
    FRA has determined that implementing the maglev deployment program 
is a major Federal action with the potential to significantly impact 
the human environment. As a consequence, FRA is initiating the 
preparation of an EIS as required under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and the regulations 
of the President's Council on Environmental Quality implementing NEPA 
(40 CFR 1500 et seq.). FRA intends to prepare a programmatic EIS (PEIS) 
to address the selection process and the potential for significant 
environmental impact from the maglev deployment program. The agency 
will prepare additional site specific environmental reviews, as 
appropriate, as the program progresses.

The Environmental Review Process

    As provided for in 23 U.S.C. 322, FRA has initiated a competition 
to select a project for the purpose of demonstrating the use of maglev 
technology to the American public. Using criteria specified in section 
322, FRA has selected seven projects, sponsored by States or their 
designated agencies, to receive preconstruction planning grants. As a 
part of the preconstruction planning effort, FRA has required the seven 
applicants to prepare environmental assessments and conduct public 
involvement and scoping activities for their respective project 
proposals. FRA will use these individual project environmental 
assessments and records of agency and public comment and participation 
in preparing the PEIS, which will be made available to the public for 
comment. FRA anticipates issuing a draft EIS in the summer of 2000. 
After reviewing comments on the draft PEIS, FRA will prepare a final 
PEIS that addresses these comments and incorporates any additional 
analyses and material deemed necessary. The final PEIS will be made 
available for public review for not less than 30 days before FRA takes 
any final action on the program.

[[Page 73118]]

Alternatives Sites

    The following applicants and projects (with identified applicant 
representatives) were selected by the Secretary to receive 
preconstruction planning assistance and represent the range of 
potential program alternatives:
     Port Authority of Allegheny County: A 45-mile project 
linking Pittsburgh Airport to Pittsburgh and its eastern suburbs (Mr. 
Bruce W. Ahern, Port Authority of Allegheny County, 2235 Beaver Avenue, 
Pittsburgh, PA 15233-1080, telephone 412-237-6121).
     Maryland Department of Transportation: A 40-mile project 
linking Camden Yard in Baltimore and Baltimore-Washington International 
Airport to Union Station in Washington, D.C. (Mr. Suhair Alkhatib, 
Maryland Mass Transit Administration, William Donald Schafer Tower, 6 
St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21202-1614, telephone 410-767-3751).
     California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission: A 42-mile 
project linking Las Vegas to Primm, Nevada (Ms. Richann Johnson, 
Executive Assistant, California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission, 
400 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89101, telephone 702-229-
6551).
     Florida Department of Transportation: A 20-mile project 
linking Port Canaveral to the Space Center and the Titusville Regional 
Airport (Mr. Nazih K. Haddad, Manager, Intercity Passenger Rail, 
Florida Department of Transportation, 605 Suwannee Street, Mail Station 
57, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450, telephone 850-414-4534).
     Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission: A 40-mile 
project linking New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal to the airport and 
across Lake Ponchartrain to the northern suburbs (Mr. Bryan Clement, 
Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission, 3943 N. Causeway Blvd., 
Metairie, LA 70002, telephone 504-835-3116).
     Georgia/Atlanta Regional Commission: First 40 miles of 
110-mile project from Atlanta to Chattanooga, TN. (Mr. Robert McCord, 
Maglev Project Manager, The Atlanta Regional Commission, 40 Courtland 
Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30303, telephone 404-463-3253).
     State of California: A 70-to 75-mile system connecting Los 
Angeles International Airport to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles 
to Ontario Airport and further east into Riverside County (Mr. Albert 
Perdon, Maglev Project Director, Albert Perdon & Associates, 12748 
Castleford Lane, Cerritos, CA 90703, telephone 310-871-1113).

Scoping and Comments

    FRA encourages broad participation in the EIS process during 
scoping and review of the resulting environmental documents. Comments 
and suggestions are invited from all interested agencies and the public 
at large to insure the full range of issues related to the proposed 
action and all reasonable alternatives are addressed and all 
significant issues are identified. In particular, FRA is interested in 
determining whether there are areas of national environmental concern 
where there might be the potential for significant impacts, either 
adverse or favorable, as a result of advancing the maglev deployment 
program. Because the applicants are required to conduct public outreach 
as part of their preparation of environmental assessments, FRA does not 
plan to hold public scoping meetings. The applicants are responsible 
for contacting appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies, private 
organizations and citizens to solicit input regarding their respective 
program alternatives. Persons interested in providing comments on the 
scope of the programmatic environmental document should do so by 
February 18, 2000. Comments can be sent in writing to Mr. David 
Valenstein at the address identified above. Persons interested in 
providing comments on issues of environmental concern with respect to 
any of the individual projects should contact the applicant 
representatives identified above.
    FRA has in place a Maglev Deployment Program page (http://
www.fra.dot.gov/o/hsgt/maglev.htm) on the agency's Internet site where 
the public can obtain additional information related to the Maglev 
Deployment Program. FRA also intends to establish a separate page on 
the agency's site specifically addressing the environmental impact 
statement process for the Maglev Deployment Program.

    Issued in Washington, D.C. on: December 20, 1999.
Arrigo P. Mongini,
Acting Associate Administrator for Railroad Development.
[FR Doc. 99-33788 Filed 12-28-99; 8:45 am]
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