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Draft Environmental Impact Statement
In October 2017, SEPTA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for KOP Rail to the public and stakeholders. The DEIS, required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), evaluated various alternatives for a new rail connection between the existing Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) and destinations in King of Prussia. The DEIS included a summary of benefits to the local and regional community as well as potential impacts to the natural, cultural and social environment.
Scoping: Project Scoping sets the stage for the types of alternatives that will be evaluated in the DEIS, which is the first step in the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) process to secure federal funding for construction of the project. Scoping 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. SEPTA began the Scoping phase in the fall of 2012.

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.

At each stage of the Tiered Alternatives Screening process, SEPTA offered several opportunities for the public to review the current range of alternatives under consideration and provide feedback. For the KOP Rail Project, three (3) screening tiers were used to ultimately find the best overall alternative. SEPTA’s board adopted the LPA – PECO/PA Turnpike – 1st Ave in January 2018.
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 (LPA) will be thoroughly analyzed in an 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 Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA)
  • Adopt LPA into regional long range plan
  • View DEIS
  • Summary of public and agency comments and responses
  • Record of Decision
  • Refinement of Financial Plan
  • Application to FTA for New Starts Federal Grant program