Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mid-June 2010 Update of the Honolulu Rail NEPA Process

City administration representatives mislead you that the feds have accepted the FEIS. The FTA allowed the city to release the FEIS in mid-June 2010. This is a step, but not a major milestone in the environmental process.

The FEIS is not an FEIS until the Governor signs it. Only then the FTA signs it and publishes that fact in the Federal Register.

At that point, the public comment period begins, and if there are significant remaining concerns then a Supplementary EIS may be required. An SDEIS had to be done for Mayor Harris' Bus Rapid Transit system in 2002.

The Programmatic Agreement (PA, or section 106 compliance) needs to be completed. As of mid-June 20101 it is incomplete. Upon PA completion, the FTA can issue a Record on Decision that completes the environmental (NEPA) process.

After that the city can complete Final Design. After Final Design is complete, the city can negotiate the actual funding level. That leads to the FFGA, or Full Funding Grant Agreement, that defines how much federal subsidy the city will receive.

This is a long way to go. You may safely ignore the pro-rail politician propaganda that rail is a done deal and that construction is about to start.

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