The King of Prussia Rail Project is a large, federally-funded transportation project that requires a comprehensive planning process that considers potential impacts to the natural, cultural and social environment. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) mandates that these impacts – as well as any preliminary transportation alternatives studied – must be documented. As SEPTA develops alternatives for the King of Prussia Rail Project, each will be assessed through the NEPA process which includes Scoping, Tiered Alternatives Screening and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Scoping – Scoping occurs early in the alternatives development, and is considered a "formal" step in the environmental review process. During Scoping, the sponsoring agency (in this case, SEPTA and the FTA) determine the Purpose and the Need for the project in order to identify the types of transportation alternatives that should be considered for evaluation.
Tiered Alternatives Screening – The ability of an alternative to meet the project purpose and need while minimizing environmental impacts is determined by examining a wide range of issues. The process requires us to find the best overall alternative, while striving to balance the benefits and impacts as much as possible. As more data is gathered and design advances, the level of detail and analysis increases. To accommodate this increase, the alternatives analysis is divided into different stages or “tiers.” This tiered evaluation allows SEPTA to either modify or eliminate certain alternatives as the work proceeds.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – An EIS is a written statement containing an assessment of the anticipated effects – both positive and negative – a proposed alternative may have upon the environment (natural, social or cultural). The Locally Preferred Alternative will be thoroughly analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in order to meet the National Environmental Policy Act requirements for environmental approval. This is a critical step and enables the project to move forward into engineering design and eventual construction.
• Identification of a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA)
• Adopt LPA into regional long range plan
• Record of Decision
• Refinement of Financial Plan
• Engineering Application to FTA