[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 122 (Wednesday, June 25, 2003)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37891-37892]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-16092]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Environmental Impact Statement on Transit Improvements in the 
Metro South Study Area of Metropolitan St. Louis, MO

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

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

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SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the East-West 
Gateway Coordinating Council, the Bi-State Development Agency doing 
business as Metro, and the Missouri Department of Transportation (DOT) 
intend to prepare an EIS in accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) and its implementing regulations for proposed 
transportation improvements in the Metro South Study Area of 
metropolitan St. Louis County, Missouri. The project co-sponsors 
include the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council (EWGCC) which is the 
metropolitan planning organization (MPO) responsible for transportation 
planning in the St. Louis metropolitan area, Metro which is the transit 
agency that operates the MetroLink light rail system and the bus system 
in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and the Missouri DOT.
    This notice is being published to notify interested agencies and 
the general public about the proposed action and to invite 
participation in the study. Scoping will be accomplished through 
correspondence and meetings with interested persons, organizations, and 
federal, state, and local agencies. A public scoping meeting and an 
interagency scoping meeting are currently planned.
    The Metro South Study Area is bounded by the River Des Peres on the 
north, the Mississippi River on the east, the Meramec River on the 
south, and various streets including Gravois, Sappington, Watson, and 
Edgar on the west. Within this study area, transit improvements 
alternatives including light-rail transit alternatives, a 
transportation systems management (TSM) alternative, an enhanced bus 
system alternative, a no-action alternative and any additional 
reasonable alternatives emerging from the scoping process will be 
evaluated.

DATES: The public scoping meeting is scheduled for July 23, 2003 from 4 
to 7 p.m. at the address given under ADDRESSES. The interagency scoping 
meeting is scheduled for July 25, 2003. Written comments on the scope 
of the study must be received at the EWGCC by August 8, 2003. See 
ADDRESSES for mailing information.

ADDRESSES: Scoping Meetings: The public scoping meeting on July 23, 
2003 will be held in the gymnasium of Cor Jesu Academy, 10230 Gravois 
Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63123. The meeting will take place from 4 to 
7 p.m. Oral and written comments on the scope of the study may be given 
at the meeting. The meeting site is wheelchair-accessible. Any person 
who requires language interpretation or special communication 
accommodations is asked to contact the project's public-participation 
coordinator, Laurna Godwin of Vector Communications at (314) 621-5566 
prior to the meeting. Federal, state, and local agencies will be 
notified individually about the location of the interagency scoping 
meeting.
    Written Comments: Written comments on the scope of the study may be 
sent to Mr. Bob Innis, Transportation Corridor Improvement Group, East-
West Gateway Coordinating Council, 10 Stadium Plaza, St. Louis, MO 
63102; or by e-mail to bob.innis@ewgateway.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Joan Roeseler, Director of 
Planning and Program Development, FTA Region 7, 901 Locust Street, 
Kansas City, Missouri 64106; Telephone: (816) 329-3936.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Scoping

    Scoping information material will be available at the meetings and 
may also be obtained by contacting Mr. Bob Innis at his address in 
ADDRESSES above or by telephone at (314) 982-1400, Extension 1767. 
Scoping information will also be available on the Internet at http://
www.metrosouthstudy.org FTA, EWGCC, Metro, and the Missouri DOT invite 
all interested individuals and organizations, and Federal, State, 
regional, and local agencies to participate in articulating the purpose 
and need for the proposed transit improvements, defining the transit 
alternatives to be evaluated, and identifying social, economic, or 
environmental issues related to the alternatives. During the scoping 
process, comments should focus on specific social, economic, or 
environmental issues to be evaluated and on suggesting alternatives 
that may be less costly or have fewer environmental impacts while 
achieving similar transportation objectives.

II. Planning History and Process

    A multimodal major investment study entitled the Cross-County 
Corridor
    Major Transportation Investment Analysis (MTIA) was carried out in 
1995-1997. This study examined transportation problems and identified 
potential solutions at a conceptual level

[[Page 37892]]

for a large portion of St. Louis County, including the Metro South 
Study Area, that is the subject of the planned EIS. At the conclusion 
of the MTIA, the EWGCC selected a MetroLink light rail transit (LRT) 
extension as the locally preferred alternative (LPA) in the Metro South 
Study Area. That LRT extension was planned to extend along a corridor 
from Lansdowne Avenue south along the Burlington-Northern & Santa Fe 
Railroad right-of-way past Lindbergh Boulevard, across I-55 to the 
South County Shopping Center near I-255/270, and then across I-255 and 
south along the I-55 right-of-way terminating south-east of the I-55 
and Butler Hill Road interchange.
    However, conditions in the Metro South Study Area have changed 
since the MTIA was completed in early 1997. For example, a number of 
large new commercial developments have recently opened or are currently 
under construction. Therefore, at the outset of the NEPA process, the 
state and local sponsoring agencies will conduct a Planning 
Alternatives Analysis to re-establish the project purpose and need 
consistent with the land use and transportation goals and objectives in 
the Legacy 2025: Long Range Plan initiative, and to re-examine the 
alternative transit modes and general alignments that would serve the 
transportation purpose and need in the Metro South Study Area.

III. Alternatives

    The alternatives to be considered currently consist of the No-
Action Alternative, Light Rail Transit (LRT) Alternatives, a TSM 
Alternative, and an Enhanced Bus System Alternative. Any additional 
reasonable alternatives suggested during scoping that reduce costs or 
impacts while still serving the transportation purpose and need will 
also be considered. The LRT Alternatives consist of the LPA from the 
MTIA described above, and alignment variations designed to serve new 
developments or to reduce impacts. The No-Action Alternative is the 
continuation of existing bus service policies in the study area. Under 
the No-Action Alternative, increases in service would track with 
increases in demand due to population or employment growth in the area, 
in accordance with current service policies. The TSM Alternative 
consists of low-cost mobility improvements that attempt to serve the 
project purpose and need without building a transit guideway. The 
Enhanced Bus System Alternative provides additional bus improvements 
exceeding those of the TSM in cost and possibly including segments of 
busway or dedicated lanes.

IV. Probable Effects and Potential Impacts for Analysis

    At the present time, none of the usual impact categories associated 
with transit projects can be ruled out. Therefore the study will 
evaluate all social, economic, and environmental impacts of the 
alternatives, including land use, zoning, and economic development; 
cumulative land use impact, land acquisition, displacements, and 
relocation of existing uses; historic, archaeological, and cultural 
resources; parklands and recreation areas; neighborhoods and 
communities; environmental justice; air quality; noise and vibration; 
contaminated sites; ecosystems; water resources; construction impacts; 
safety and security; utilities; finance; and transportation impacts. 
The impacts will be evaluated both for the construction period and for 
the long-term period of operation of each alternative. Measures to 
mitigate adverse impacts will be identified.

V. FTA Procedures

    Following the scoping process, the alternatives will be evaluated 
in a Planning Alternatives Analysis that results in the identification 
of a locally preferred alternative (LPA) by EWGCC. FTA and the project 
sponsors will then decide which of the alternatives may be eliminated 
from further review on the basis of the public and agency comments on 
the Planning Alternatives Analysis and which alternatives must be 
carried forward for detailed review in the EIS. The alternatives 
reviewed in the EIS will include, at a minimum, the No-Action 
Alternative and the LPA. Scoping activities are being initiated at the 
outset of the Planning Alternatives Analysis to maximize the 
opportunity for public involvement in the consideration of transit 
alternatives and reaching decisions about the transportation 
investments that will be advanced into the EIS for detailed evaluation.
    In accordance with FTA policy, all Federal laws, regulations and 
executive orders affecting project development, including but not 
limited to the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality and 
FTA implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508 and 23 CFR part 771), the 
conformity requirements of the Clean Air Act, section 404 of the Clean 
Water Act, Executive Orders 11988, 11990 and 12898 regarding 
floodplains, wetlands, and environmental justice, respectively, the 
National Historic Preservation Act, the Endangered Species Act, and 
section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, will be addressed 
to the maximum extent practicable during the NEPA process.

    Issued on: June 19, 2003.
Mokhtee Ahmad,
Regional Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, Region VII.
[FR Doc. 03-16092 Filed 6-24-03; 8:45 am]
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