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Environmental Assessment For Seattle Central Link Light Rail Initial Segment Results in FTA Record of Decision, May 8, 2002

Response to the Seattle Link Light Rail Initial Segment Environmental Assessment (EA), an informational document prepared under rules established in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), provided an occasion during February and March 2002 for citizens to submit public comment on the Central Link Light Rail project, which Sound Transit claims it will begin constructing in 2002.

On May 8, 2002, the official reaction to these comments from the Federal Transit Administration was issued under the signature of the FTA Region 10 Acting Administrator: a Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact (FONSI) and the conclusion that a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is not necessary.  A 20 page Record of Decision was issued, which clears the way for Sound Transit to negotiate a new Full Funding Grant Agreement to replace the one what was abandoned when the initial operating segment of the Central Link light rail project was substantially changed during the summer of 2001.

Members of the Sane Transit coalition believe that there are remaining issues on which the project should be challenged, some of which were not addressed at all in the Environmental Assessment, and others that were addressed incompletely.

Download the Record of Decision document (pdf, 1.4 megabytes)  Appendices listing required mitigation measures and summarized public comments with official response, are not yet available in electronic format.

The Record of Decision states that 116 comment letters and 23 oral testimonies were received during the 30 day comment period on the Environmental Assessment.

Over 100 citizens sent copies of their comments on the EA to former King County Councilmember Maggi Fimia, who assembled them into a notebook that has been distributed to the elected officials who provide transportation leadership in the central Puget Sound region. Copies are available for $20.00 (check made out to SANE Transit) and mailed to Maggi Fimia, 729 N. 148th Shoreline, WA 98133.

Selected excerpts from the Environmental Assessment book of comments (all in Adobe Acrobat pdf):

bulletCover page and Maggi Fimia's cover letter
bulletComments on the Central Link Initial Segment from Citizens for Mobility
bulletIllustrative EA comment charts prepared by Richard Harkness
bulletComments on the Central Link Initial Segment from Jim MacIsaac, Contributing Editor, Public Interest Transportation Forum

A page from a U.S. Government guide to citizen participation in the planning process describing what an Environmental Assessment is (external link).

Sound Transit refused several citizens' requests to post the Environmental Assessment full text, online.

bulletAppendix L is the Sound Transit/Metro evaluation of Joint Operation in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, available here from Sound Transit (external link to pdf).
bulletJump to the page at www.soundtransit.org which provides electronic access to summary documents from the 1999 FEIS for Link Light Rail as a whole, referenced in the EA.
bulletLetter to Sound Transit from FTA Region 10 ordering that the EA be prepared, and describing the most important topics to be covered.
bulletLetter from former Governor Booth Gardner to Secretary of Transportation Mineta (November 2001) requesting a more complete Environmental Impact Statement on the Link Initial Segment (doc file download).  
bulletDownload a copy of the Link EIS Addendum, which in many ways is a shorter version of the Environmental Assessment, prepared under the rules of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).  This is a pdf page image file, 873 kilobytes.

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Last modified: February 07, 2011