[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 74 (Monday, April 19, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20421-20423]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-8965]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Expansion 
of Light Rail Transit Service From Glassboro, NJ to Camden, NJ

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

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

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SUMMARY: FTA, in coordination with the Delaware River Port Authority 
(DRPA)/Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO), is issuing this 
Notice of Intent (NOI) to advise the public that it proposes to prepare 
an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the potential 
environmental impacts associated with the construction and operation of 
the Glassboro-Camden Line (GCL) light rail system, as well as assess 
and document a No-Action Alternative and a Transportation System 
Management (TSM) Alternative. The proposed GCL system is approximately 
18 miles long and would operate between the Borough of Glassboro in 
Gloucester County and the City of Camden in Camden County along, and 
primarily within, the existing Conrail railroad right-of-way. Light 
Rail technology along this alignment was selected as the Recommended 
Alternative based on a two-year Alternatives Analysis completed by 
DRPA/PATCO in 2009.
    FTA is issuing this notice to solicit public and agency input 
regarding the scope of the EIS and to advise the public and agencies 
that outreach activities conducted by DRPA/PATCO and its 
representatives will be considered in the preparation of the EIS. FTA 
is the lead federal agency for the environmental review, with DRPA/
PATCO as the joint lead agency.

DATES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS, including the 
project's purpose and need, the alternatives to be considered, and the 
impacts to be evaluated should be sent to DRPA on or before June 10, 
2010. See ADDRESSES below for the address to which written comments may 
be sent. Oral comments on the scope of the EIS can be made at Public 
Scoping Meetings on the following dates:
     Thursday, May 6, 2010 at Camden County College--Camden 
Technology Center, 200 North Broadway, Camden, NJ 08102 from 5:30 to 
8:30 p.m.
     Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at Rowan University (Henry M. Rowan 
Bldg.), 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028 from 1:30 to 4:30 
p.m.
     Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at Rowan University (Henry M. Rowan 
Bldg.), 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028 from 5:30 to 8:30 
p.m.
    An informational session explaining the proposed project will occur 
during the first hour of each meeting, followed by the opportunity for 
the public and/or agency representatives to provide oral comments on 
the scope of the EIS. Those individuals wishing to speak at the 
meetings are required to register at the particular meeting location on 
the day of that meeting. Anyone who requires special assistance at a 
scoping meeting should contact Ms. Victoria Malaszecki, Public 
Involvement Coordinator at (856) 223-0800, via e-mail at 
publicinvolvement@GlassboroCamdenLine.com, or at the address listed 
below at least 3 days prior to the meeting.
    An agency scoping meeting will be held on Monday, May 3, 2010 at 2 
p.m., at DRPA, One Port Center, 2 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ. 
Representatives from federal, state, regional, tribal, and local 
agencies that may have an interest in the project will be invited to 
serve as either participating or cooperating agencies.

ADDRESSES: Comments will be accepted orally at the public scoping 
meetings, or they may be sent to Ms. Victoria Malaszecki, Public 
Outreach Liaison, Envision Consultants, Ltd. by mail at PO Box 536, 
Mullica Hill, NJ 08062, by fax (856)-223-8886, or by e-mail at 
publicinvolvement@GlassboroCamdenLine.com. The addresses of the scoping 
meetings are listed above under DATES.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Either Mr. Keith Lynch, Project 
Advisor, Federal Transit Administration, 1716 Market Street, Suite 500, 
Philadelphia, PA 19103 or (215) 656-7056; or Mr. Michael Venuto, 
Project Manager, Delaware River Port Authority, One Port Center, 2 
Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08101 or (856) 968-2079.
    Additional project information and scoping materials will be 
available at the meetings and on the project Web site (http://www.GlassboroCamdenLine.com).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I: Scoping

    FTA and DRPA/PATCO will undertake a scoping process that will allow 
the public and interested agencies to comment on the scope of the 
environmental review process. Scoping is the process of determining the 
scope, focus, and content of an EIS. NEPA scoping has specific 
objectives, identifying the significant issues that

[[Page 20422]]

will be examined in detail during the EIS, while simultaneously 
limiting consideration and development of issues that are not truly 
significant. FTA and DRPA/PATCO invite all interested individuals and 
organizations, public agencies, and Native American tribes to comment 
on the scope of the Draft EIS. To facilitate public and agency comment, 
a Draft Scoping Document will be prepared for review. Included in this 
document will be draft descriptions of: The purpose and need for the 
project; the alternatives to be studied; the impacts to be assessed; 
and the public outreach and agency coordination process.

II: Proposed Purpose and Need

    The purpose of this project is to improve transit service along the 
Glassboro to Camden corridor in southern New Jersey with a focus on 
increasing mobility and improving links between the established 
communities and activity centers.
    The Glassboro to Camden corridor is characterized by older, densely 
populated communities that developed along the rail line, as well as by 
major employment and activity centers including universities, medical 
centers and other institutions. However, connections between these 
activity centers and the people who access them are not efficient and 
travel along the corridor is difficult. With regard to transit service 
especially, the corridor lacks competitive and reliable transit options 
between the major communities and activity centers.
    Trips along the corridor are primarily made by car. Major roadways 
experience congestion during peak hours, and even greater travel 
demands are predicted for the future in Gloucester and Camden counties, 
associated with growth in population and employment. This growth will 
contribute to continued increases in vehicle miles of travel, air 
pollutants and greenhouse gases, and travel times. In addition, this 
auto dependence has contributed to and continues to encourage 
development ``sprawl'' into open space and agricultural land, requiring 
new supporting infrastructure, and does not encourage growth in the 
established communities as promoted by state and local ``Smart Growth'' 
initiatives.
    The proposed 18-mile GCL traverses established communities and 
would provide a new reliable transit system competitive with auto 
travel, linking activity centers, employment destinations and 
established residential areas. This reliability and competitiveness 
would encourage a modal shift from auto to transit, and contribute to 
reduced congestion, vehicle miles of travel, air pollutants and 
greenhouse gases, and travel times. Aligning the GCL with the existing 
Conrail railroad right-of-way would minimize property acquisition and 
take advantage of an underutilized transportation corridor. Moreover, 
its location amid established communities would encourage growth and 
economic development consistent with ``Smart Growth'' programs and 
policies at the local, State, and regional level.

III: Proposed Alternatives

    The alternatives expected to be included in the EIS include:
    No Action Alternative: The No Action Alternative represents future 
conditions in the EIS analysis year of 2035 without the GCL Project. 
The No Action Alternative includes the existing transit and 
transportation system in southern New Jersey plus planned improvements 
for which the need, commitment, financing and public and political 
support have been identified, and which may reasonably be expected to 
be implemented. This Alternative is included in the Draft EIS as a 
means of comparing and evaluating the impacts and benefits of the GCL 
alternatives.
    Transportation System Management (TSM) Alternative: The TSM 
alternative consists of enhancements and upgrades to the existing 
transportation system to address some of the needs and purpose of the 
project at less capital cost. These upgrades can include bus route 
restructuring and headway reductions, express and limited-stop service, 
intersection improvements, and other limited infrastructure 
improvements that enhance the transportation system. The specific 
combination of improvements to be incorporated into the TSM will be 
developed during the EIS process.
    Light Rail Alternative: Based on the results of the 2009 
Alternatives Analysis of transit options, light rail service from 
Glassboro to Camden was selected as the Recommended Alternative to 
provide expanded transit service in Gloucester and Camden counties, New 
Jersey. This alternative will be the focus of the Draft EIS assessment 
and documentation.
    The Light Rail Alternative would traverse the communities of 
Glassboro, Pitman, Sewell, Mantua Township, Deptford Township, Wenonah, 
Woodbury Heights, Woodbury, Westville, Brooklawn, Gloucester City, and 
Camden. The new line would primarily run along Conrail's freight 
alignment, which is roughly parallel to Woodbury-Glassboro Road and NJ 
Route 45. The northern segment in Camden would follow a new right-of-
way adjacent to I-676 before entering an in-street alignment to reach 
Walter Rand Transportation Center where riders could transfer to the 
PATCO Lindenwold Line and the NJ TRANSIT River Line.
    The Light Rail Alternative would use diesel-powered light rail 
vehicles, operating on new dedicated tracks and/or sharing portions of 
Conrail track with temporal separation. Approximately fourteen (14) new 
stations would be located along the alignment.

IV: Probable Effects

    FTA and DRPA/PATCO will evaluate both project-specific as well as 
indirect and cumulative effects to the existing physical, social, 
economic and environmental setting in which the GCL will be located. 
The permanent, long-term effects to the region could include effects to 
traffic and transportation; land use and socioeconomics; visual 
character and aesthetics; noise and vibration; historical and 
archaeological resources; community impacts; and natural resources. 
Temporary impacts during construction of the project could include 
effects to air quality; noise and vibration; natural resources; and 
contaminated and hazardous materials.
    The analysis will be undertaken in conformity with NEPA, Council on 
Environmental Quality regulations, FTA guidance and relevant 
environmental guidelines, Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act, section 4(f) of the DOT Act, Executive Order 12898 
regarding minority and low-income populations, the Clean Water Act and 
the Clean Air Act of 1970, along with other applicable Federal and 
State regulations. Opportunities for comment on the potential effects 
to be studied will be provided to the public, and comments received 
will be considered in the development of the final scope and content of 
the environmental documents.

V: Public and Agency Involvement Procedures

    The regulations implementing NEPA, as well as provisions of the 
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A 
Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), call for public involvement in the EIS 
process. In accordance with Section 6002 of SAFETEA-LU, FTA and DRPA/
PATCO will: (1) Extend an invitation to other Federal and non-Federal 
agencies and Native American Tribes that may have an interest in the 
proposed project to become participating agencies (any interested party 
that does not receive an

[[Page 20423]]

invitation to become a participating agency can notify any of the 
contact persons listed earlier in this NOI); (2) Provide opportunity 
for involvement by participating agencies and the public to help define 
the purpose and need for the proposed project, as well as the range of 
alternatives for consideration in the EIS; and (3) Establish a plan for 
coordinating public and agency participation in, and comment on, the 
environmental review process.
    A Public Involvement Plan and an Agency Coordination Plan will be 
developed outlining public and agency involvement for the project. 
These will be available on the project Web site or through written 
request. Opportunities for comment will be provided throughout the EIS 
process, including public and agency meetings, the project Web site, a 
mailing address, and a phone information line. Comments received from 
any of these sources will be considered in the development of the final 
scope and content of the environmental documents.

VI. Summary/Next Steps

    With the publication of this NOI, the scoping process for the 
project begins. After the publication of the Draft Scoping Document, a 
public comment period will begin, allowing the public to offer input on 
the scope of the EIS until June 10, 2010. Public comments will be 
received through those methods explained earlier in this NOI and will 
be incorporated into a Final Scoping Document. This document will 
detail the scope of the EIS and the potential environmental effects 
that will be considered during the study period. After the completion 
of the Draft EIS, another public commenting period will allow for input 
on the EIS, and these comments will be incorporated into the Final EIS 
report before publication.

    Issued on: April 12, 2010.
Letitia A. Thompson,
FTA Region III Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2010-8965 Filed 4-16-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P