The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. FRA determined that a tiered NEPA process is appropriate for a project of this scale, as tiering involves a staged environmental review process applied to complex projects covering large geographic areas. This Tier 1 EIS establishes the Purpose and Need for the Project; provides a broad assessment of the potential transportation, social, economic, and environmental impacts of Corridor Alternatives for the Project; and presents the outcomes of public and agency coordination. The Tier 1 EIS also identifies general locations for potential stations; and discusses potential train technology, speed, and frequency necessary to support the Purpose and Need of the Project.
The Tier 1 EIS will consider the potential environmental, economic and social effects
of each route alternative. It will also include a conceptual engineering and financial
analysis to estimate ridership, cost and revenue for each route alternative. GDOT
will use all of this information to select its preferred passenger rail route alternative for the
Atlanta to Charlotte corridor.
The Tier 1 EIS will solicit and consider comments about the Atlanta to Charlotte
PRCIP from the public and local, state and federal agencies. Preparation of the
Tier 1 EIS allows environmental effects to play an important role along
with other factors such as feasibility and cost in decisions made about
the potential project.
A Service Development Plan (SDP) for the preferred route alternative will include
refined Atlanta to Charlotte PRCIP operational characteristics and capital costs,
and will outline options for phasing and implementation of the project.