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Environment Review Process

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

MTA Long Island Rail Road is conducting an environmental review of its proposed replacement of the Colonial Road Bridge and extension of an existing pocket, or turning track, crucial to improving service on the Port Washington Branch.

The LIRR will follow the federal NEPA environmental process. LIRR has held preliminary meetings with elected officials to inform them of the proposed project. LIRR also held an information meeting in November, 2010, for Thomaston residents who live adjacent to the project.

Public participation will be an integral element of the LIRR's environmental review. The Great Neck Information Center represents an opportunity for the public to learn about the project and to provide input. There are many ways to comment on the project: LIRR employees will collect written comments on the project at the Information Center, people can email their comments through the MTA website, or residents can call the LIRR and provide comments. The LIRR will create a database of the contacts and comments that are received, and will include these materials in the environmental report. LIRR will use the contact information to update businesses and residents about the status and the progress of the project, as well as any updates to the website.

After the public comments are reviewed, work will advance on the environmental report. During the spring and summer, LIRR anticipates that the draft environmental report will be completed. In the fall, the public would have an additional opportunity to comment on the environmental report and any mitigation that may be associated with the project. The environmental process may conclude in the first quarter of 2012.


What is NEPA?
NEPA is a federal law that requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions. Federal agencies are required to document project impacts and make this information available to the public.

Why is the LIRR following NEPA procedures?
The project must be reviewed under NEPA because the project is receiving federal funding.

What are the key steps in the NEPA process?

  • Coordinate with federal agencies
    • Identify federal and state agencies with jurisdiction.
    • Exchange information about the project.

  • Public Involvement
    • Discuss the project with the public and solicit input.
    • Offer opportunities for the public to become involved with the project:
      • Visit the Great Neck Information Center Sessions.
      • Visit the MTA website.

  • Identify Alternatives
    • Review the public comments and prepare a list of alternative suggestions provided by the public.
  • Develop Draft Environmental Document
    • Complete environmental studies and analyze potential impacts.
    • Compile the studies into one document and summarize the results.

  • Opportunity for Public Comment
    • After the draft document is complete, the public will have an opportunity to review and comment on it.

  • Develop Final Environmental Document
    • Preparation of the final environmental document will reflect the consideration of public input.

  • Federal Agency Issues Environmental Determination
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