Federal Environmental Process

NEPA Process - How decisions are made

As with every significant federally funded transportation project, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared for the Red Line Study. The purpose of the EIS document is to conduct a thorough and public study of potential human, cultural, and natural environmental impacts for each of the transit types (modes) and routes (alignments) under consideration.

Study Steps

Notice of Intent

The Notice of Intent (NOI) is an announcement to the public and to interested agencies that a project is being developed and that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared.

April 2003


The Scoping Report identifies the alternatives and impacts that will be examined in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An important part of this phase is to go out to the public for their ideas, comments and concerns. Scoping identifies the key resources and issues that the project needs to address.

October 2004

Alternatives Analysis

The information collected during the Scoping phase is used to identify, consider, and analyze types of transit (modes) and routes (alignments) that are reasonable, feasible, and practical from a technical and economic standpoint.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

The Alternatives Analysis/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (AA/DEIS) includes examination of the natural, cultural and socioeconomic environmental impacts of various alternatives.

September 2008

Locally Preferred Alternative

The Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) is the mode and general alignment selected from among those presented in the AA/DEIS. The LPA is further studied and is the basis of the Preferred Alternative.

August 2009

Final Environmental Impact Statement

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) identifies a preferred alternative, responds to comments received on the DEIS, demonstrates compliance with related environmental statutes such as the National Historic Preservation Act, and identifies commitments made to mitigate impacts of the project.

December 2012

Record of Decision

The Record of Decision (ROD) is the final step in the EIS process. The ROD is a concise report that states FTA's determination that NEPA has been completed for the proposed project. It describes the basis for the decision, identifies alternatives that were considered and summarizes specific mitigation measures that will be incorporated into the project. With a ROD, the project may proceed into final design and construction.

February 2013