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43324 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No.

149 / Friday, August 3, 2007 / Notices

• Hand Delivery: Room W12–140 of the City of Mesa in Maricopa County, for study will be presented at these
the U.S. Department of Transportation, Arizona. The proposed study area is meetings. The buildings used for the
West Building Ground Floor, 1200 New bounded on the west by the LRT Starter scoping meetings are accessible to
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, Line eastern terminus at Main Street/ persons with disabilities. Any
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday Sycamore; University Boulevard to the individual who requires special
through Friday, except Federal holidays. north; Power Road to the east; and the assistance, such as a sign language
Communications received within 45 Superstition Freeway (US 60) on the interpreter, to participate in a scoping
days of the date of this notice will be south. The AA/EIS will be prepared in meeting should contact Jodi Sorrell, City
considered by FRA before final action is accordance with the requirements of the of Mesa, 600 SE. Sixth Street, Mesa, AZ
taken. Comments received after that National Environmental Policy Act 85211 (Telephone 480–644–5541) at
date will be considered as far as (NEPA) and its implementing least 48 hours in advance of a meeting
practicable. All written communications regulations. The AA/EIS process will be in order for METRO and the City of
concerning these proceedings are initiated with a scoping process that Mesa to make the necessary
available for examination during regular provides opportunities for the public to arrangements.
business hours (9 a.m.–5 p.m.) at the comment on the scope of the project and Scoping materials wil be available at
above facility. All documents in the proposed alternatives to be considered the meetings and through the project’s
public docket are also available for in the AA and Draft Environmental Web site at http://
inspection and copying on the Internet Impact Statement (DEIS). This input
at the docket facility’s Web site at will be used to assist decisionmakers in Hard copies of the scoping materials are determining a locally preferred also available from Mr. Marc Soronson
FRA wishes to inform all potential alternative (LPA) for the Central Mesa whose contact information is given in
commenters that anyone is able to Corridor. Upon selection of an LPA, ADDRESSES below.
search the electronic form of all METRO will request permission from ADDRESSES: Written comments should
comments received into any of our FTA to enter into preliminary be sent to the attention of Mr. Marc
dockets by the name of the individual engineering per requirements of New Soronson, Valley Metro Rail, Inc., 101
submitting the comment (or signing the Starts regulations 49 CFR part 611. The North 1st Avenue, Suite 1300, Phoenix,
comment, if submitted on behalf of an Final Environmental Impact Statement AZ 85003. E-mail
association, business, labor union, etc.). (FEIS) will be issued after FTA approves Phone:
You may review DOT’s complete entrance into preliminary engineering. (602) 744–5545, Fax: (602) 252–7453.
Privacy Act Statement in the Federal The purpose of this notice is to alert
The locations of the public scoping
Register published on April 11, 2000 interested parties regarding the intent to
meetings are given above under DATES.
(Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477– prepare the AA/EIS, to provide
information on the nature of the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr.
78) or you may visit
proposed project and possible Hymie Luden, Office of Planning and
Issued in Washington, DC on July 30, 2007. Program Development, Federal Transit
alternatives, to invite public
Grady C. Cothen, Jr., participation in the AA/EIS process, Administration, 201 Mission Street,
Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety including comments on the scope of the Room 1650, San Francisco, CA 94105.
Standards and Program Development. alternatives proposed in this notice, to Phone: (415) 744–2732.
[FR Doc. E7–15129 Filed 8–2–07; 8:45 am] announce that public scoping meetings SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
BILLING CODE 4910–06–P will be conducted, and to identify Scoping
participating agency contacts.
DATES: Written and e-mailed comments The FTA and Valley Metro Rail, Inc.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION on the scope of study, including the (METRO) invite all interested
alternatives to be considered, and the individuals and organizations, public
Federal Transit Administration agencies, and Native American Tribes to
impacts to be assessed, should be sent
to Valley Metro Rail, Inc. (METRO) on comment on the scope of the
Preparation of an Alternatives
or before September 13, 2007. See alternatives analysis and the EIS,
Analysis/Environmental Impact
ADDRESSES below for the street address including the project’s preliminary
Statement for High-Capacity Transit
and e-mail address to which written statement of purpose and need, the
Improvements in the Central Mesa
comments may be sent. Public scoping alternatives to be studied and the
meetings to accept comments on the impacts to be evaluated. Comments
AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, scope of the study will be held on the should focus on the purpose and need
U.S. Department of Transportation. following dates: for the proposed project; alternatives
ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an • Thursday, August 23, 2007, at 6 that may be less costly or have less
Alternatives Analysis/Environmental p.m., Mesa City Plaza, Training Room environmental or community impacts
Impact Statement. 170, 20 E. Main Street, Mesa, Arizona while achieving similar transportation
85201. objectives; and the identification of any
SUMMARY: The Federal Transit • Thursday, August 30, 2007, at 6 significant social, economic, or
Administration (FTA) and Valley Metro p.m., Jefferson Elementary School, environmental issues relating to the
Rail, Inc. (METRO) intend to prepare an Recreation Center, 120 S. Jefferson alternatives.
Alternatives Analysis (AA) and Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85208.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Purpose and Need for the Project
An interagency scoping meeting will
on proposed high capacity transit be held on the following date: The draft statement of the project
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improvements, including a potential • Tuesday, August 21, 2007, at 10 purpose is currently under review by
light rail transit (LRT) and/or bus rapid a.m., Valley Metro Rail, Inc. (METRO), METRO and the City of Mesa, and will
transit (BRT) in the Central Mesa 101 North 1st Avenue, Suite 1300, be refined further. In its current state,
Corridor between the LRT Starter Line Phoenix, AZ 85003. the purpose is defined as follows:
eastern terminus and Power Road (a The project’s purpose and need and 1. Identify a transit alternative that
distance of approximately 13 miles) in the initial set of alternatives proposed increases efficient access to employment

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Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 149 / Friday, August 3, 2007 / Notices 43325

opportunities throughout the Central demand for travel by connecting the coordinated with the City of Mesa. The
Phoenix/East Valley region for City of project corridor with the LRT Starter No-Build includes the Mesa BRT project
Mesa residents. Line eastern terminus at Main Street/ on Main Street scheduled for operation
2. Identify a transit alternative that Sycamore. in December 2008.
provides improved travel times in a Several major attractions are located • Transportation System Management
congested environment over local bus. in the City. In addition, other attractions (TSM)—includes reasonable cost-
3. Identify a transit improvement of regional magnitude are in varying effective transit service improvements
alternative, with a recommended stages of development throughout the short of a major capital investment in
alignment and technology, to connect City. These will provide significant fixed guideway. The TSM implements
the western and central segments of the employment, commercial, all of the projects in the No-Build
City of Mesa with the Central Phoenix/ entertainment and retail resources, and Alternative.
East Valley Light Rail System currently are expected to generate even greater • Bus Rapid Transit—includes
under construction. demand for travel and access, both projects defined in the No-Build
4. Identify a widely-supported transit within the City limits and between the Alternative and programmed bus service
improvement alternative that would City and regionally significant areas expansion. BRT options under
facilitate continued development of a west and northwest of the City, such as consideration extend at-grade from the
comprehensive and inter-connected the City of Tempe, the Phoenix Central LRT Starter Line to Superstition Springs
regional transit network that is multi- Business District (CBD)/Washington Mall and include:
modal, that offers a range of effective Corridor, and the Spectrum Mall • BRT via Main Street and Power
mobility choices for current and future vicinity. Road.
transit riders, and that attracts new • BRT via Main Street, Mesa Drive,
transit riders onto the growing regional Alternatives
and Southern Avenue.
system. Central Phoenix/East Valley Light Rail • BRT via Main Street, Gilbert Road,
5. Identify a transit alternative that LPA: The 2002 Final EIS for the Central and Southern Avenue).
supports economic development, and Phoenix/East Valley Light Rail Transit • BRT in the Mesa Town Center
ensures enhanced connectivity among Project (the LRT Starter Line that is include:
existing and planned regional and local currently under construction and Æ Main Street through downtown
activity centers and attractions. scheduled to open in December 2008) Mesa.
Additional considerations supporting identified four LRT alignment options Æ Main Street to 1st Street Loop in
the project’s need include: that were outside the Build Alternative downtown Mesa.
The City of Mesa, which spans project studied in that Final EIS. These Æ Main Street to 1st Street double
approximately 132 square miles, is the options extended from the eastern fixed guideway in downtown Mesa.
third largest city in Arizona. Today’s terminus of the LRT Starter Line and • Light Rail Transit—includes
estimated population of 455,100 is continued into the Mesa Town Center. projects included in the No-Build
expected to increase by approximately All options used either Main Street 1st Alternative plus consideration of a LRT
25% by 2020. In general, travel on Avenue, 1st Street, or some combination extension from the CP/EV end of line
highways and arterials is expected to thereof. Recent growth in the vicinity of station at Sycamore to the Mesa Town
increase by approximately 30% between Mesa Drive has narrowed opportunities Center at Horne Avenue. LRT
2004 and 2030 within Maricopa County; for adequate park-and-ride facilities in suboptions in the Mesa Town center
peak period travel to work is expected that area; therefore, it is suggested that include:
to grow by about 40%; similar trends are park-and-ride facilities be located Æ Main Street through downtown
anticipated for the City of Mesa. further east near Horne where a park- Mesa.
Growth in the City of Mesa has caused and-ride facility could be provided. Æ Main Street to 1st Street diversion
substantial increases in traffic BRT Alternative: The City of Mesa in downtown Mesa.
congestion on the existing roadway recently conducted a study to evaluate Æ Main Street to 1st Avenue diversion
network, and has generated the need for new and improved bus rapid transit in downtown Mesa.
new public transportation service. Even (BRT) in the study area. The study Æ Main Street to 1st Street/1st
with implementation of the projects recommended a phased BRT project that Avenue couplet in downtown Mesa.
included in the Maricopa Association of would initially connect the eastern Æ A supporting bus component
Governments (MAG) Regional terminus of the LRT Starter Line to would include BRT service connecting
Transportation Plan (RTP), service Superstition Springs Mall via Main the LRT terminus at approximately
levels in 2030 on both the area freeways Street and Power Road, a total of 13 Horne and would extend to Superstition
and arterials is expected to deteriorate miles. Phase 1 of the BRT project is Springs Mall.
substantially due to increased travel scheduled to coincide with the opening These alternatives will be developed
demand, resulting in a significant of the LRT Starter Line in 2008. Future further during preparation of the AA/
increase in delay. Based on MAG model operating and service characteristics for EIS. Additional reasonable Build
results, daily freeway congestion the BRT project are subject to change Alternatives suggested during the
appears to be highest on the freeways in pending the results of the AA/EIS and scoping process that meet the purpose
the general project vicinity in 2004 and public and agency input. In addition, and need for the project may also be
2030, in comparison to other areas, such the 2002 Final EIS showed the LRT considered.
as the downtown Phoenix area, Sky extension options to Mesa Town Center
Harbor Airport vicinity, and downtown The EIS Process and the Role of
terminating just west of Mesa Drive.
Tempe area. In 2030, daily congestion is Other AA Alternatives: At a Participating Agencies and the Public
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expected on 93% of lane miles on minimum, the alternatives to be The purpose of the NEPA process is
arterials in the Mesa project corridor, a considered include the following: to explore, in a public setting, the effects
growth of 66% over current levels. • No-Build—implements a modified of the proposed project and its
The AA/EIS will analyze the potential existing and committed road and transit alternatives on the physical, human,
for the proposed high capacity transit improvements as defined by the and natural environment. The FTA and
improvement to address increased Regional Transportation Plan and METRO will evaluate all significant

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43326 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 149 / Friday, August 3, 2007 / Notices

environmental, social and economic opportunity for involvement by preferred alternative and the inclusion
impacts of the construction and participating agencies and the public in of the locally preferred alternative as
operation of the proposed project. helping to define the purpose and need part of the long-range transportation
Impact areas to be addressed include: for a proposed project, as well as the plan adopted by the Maricopa
Land use; development potential; range of alternatives for consideration in Association of Governments. The New
secondary development; land the EIS; and (3) establish a plan for Starts regulation also requires the
acquisition and displacements and coordinating public and agency submission of certain project-
relocations; cultural resources participation in and comment on the justification information in support of a
(including impacts on historical and environmental review process. request to initiate preliminary
archaeological resources); parklands and An invitation to become a engineering, and this information is
recreation areas; visual and aesthetic participating agency, with the scoping normally developed in conjunction with
qualities; air quality; noise and information packet appended, will be the NEPA process. Pertinent New Starts
vibration; ecosystems (including extended to other Federal and non- evaluation criteria will be included in
threatened and endangered species); Federal agencies and Indian tribes that the Final EIS.
energy use; business and neighborhood may have an interest in the proposed
disruptions; environmental justice; project. It is possible that we may not be The AA/EIS will be prepared in
changes in traffic and pedestrian able to identify all Federal and non- accordance with the NEPA and its
circulation and congestion; and changes Federal agencies and Indian tribes that implementing regulations issued by the
in transit service and patronage. may have such an interest. Any Federal Council on Environmental Quality (40
Measures to avoid, minimize, or or non-Federal agency or Indian tribe CFR parts 1500–1508) and with the
mitigate any significant adverse impacts interested in the proposed project that FTA/Federal Highway Administration
will be identified and evaluated. does not receive an invitation to become regulations ‘‘Environmental Impact and
The methodology for evaluation of a participating agency should notify, at Related Procedures’’ (23 CFR part 771).
impacts will focus on the areas of the earliest opportunity, the person In accordance with 23 CFR 771.105(a)
investigation mentioned above. As the identified above under ADDRESSES. and 771.133, FTA will comply with all
public involvement and agency A comprehensive Public Involvement Federal environmental laws,
consultation process proceeds, Program will be developed, and a public regulations, and executive orders
additional evaluation criteria and and agency involvement Coordination applicable to the proposed project
impact assessment measures will be Plan will be created. The Public during the environmental review
included in the analysis. Potential Involvement Program will include a full process to the maximum extent
alternatives will be developed to a range of involvement activities. practicable. These requirements
conceptual level, and will be screened Activities will include outreach to local include, but are not limited to, the
and ranked against these evaluation and county officials and community and environmental and public hearing
criteria and local community civic groups; a public scoping process to provisions of Federal transit laws (49
considerations. Travel time savings, define the issues of concern among all U.S.C. 5301(e), 5323(b), and 5324), the
potential for congestion reduction and parties interested in the project; project-level air quality conformity
improved mobility options for City of organizing periodic meetings with regulation of the U.S. Environmental
Mesa residents will be assessed for the various local agencies, organizations Protection Agency (EPA) (40 CFR part
transportation alternatives considered. and committees; a public hearing on 93), the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines of
The public involvement program and release of the Draft Environmental EPA (40 CFR part 230), the regulation
agency coordination plan discussed Impact Statement (DEIS); and implementing section 106 of the
below will provide the vehicle through development and distribution of project National Historic Preservation Act (36
which these evaluation analyses will be newsletters. There will be additional CFR part 800), the regulation
conducted. opportunities to participate in the implementing section 7 of the
The regulations implementing NEPA, scoping process in addition to the Endangered Species Act (50 CFR part
as well as provisions of the Safe, public meetings announced in this 402), section 4(f) of the Department of
Accountable, Flexible, Efficient notice. Specific mechanisms for Transportation Act (23 CFR 771.135),
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for involvement will be detailed in the and Executive Orders 12898 on
Users (SAFETEA–LU), call for public Public Involvement Program. environmental justice, 11988 on
involvement in the EIS process. Section Valley Metro Rail, Inc. (METRO) may floodplain management and 11990 on
6002 of SAFETEA–LU requires that FTA seek New Starts funding for the wetlands.
and METRO do the following: (1) proposed project under 49 U.S.C. 5309 Issued on: July 25, 2007.
Extend an invitation to other Federal and will therefore be subject to New
Leslie T. Rogers,
and non-Federal agencies and Indian Starts regulations (49 CFR part 611). The
tribes that may have an interest in the New Starts regulation requires a Regional Administrator, FTA Region IX.
proposed project to become planning Alternatives Analysis that [FR Doc. 07–3815 Filed 8–2–07; 8:45 am]
‘‘participating agencies’’; (2) provide an leads to the selection of a locally BILLING CODE 4910–57–M
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