More on the Environmental Impact Statement
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) shares information about the anticipated effects of a major infrastructure project (like a new MAX light rail line) with the public, government agencies and decision makers. The EIS is made of two components, the Draft EIS and the Final EIS. In between the preparation of each document, there is a public comment period and decision on the route.
Because the proposed MAX line will need federal funding, the Federal Transit Administration is conducting an EIS in partnership with Metro, TriMet and other project partners. The purpose is to understand and identify potential risks and benefits before federal funding is made available to build a new light rail line.
What's the difference between the Draft EIS and Final EIS?
The Draft EIS, which is the report that was just published, identifies impacts for a range of route options. The report also identifieds strategies to avoid, minimize or mitigate the anticipated negative impacts associated with light rail development. While an initial route proposal is identified in the Draft EIS, it's not a final decision - all the options studied are still on the table.
The public comment period provides an opportunity for review and comment by anyone interested in the project and its potential impacts. After the public comment period, the Steering Committee will consider the Draft EIS analysis and the comment received, and then recommend a route to study further, known as the Preferred Alternative. After hearing from affected jurisdictions, Metro Council will adopt a Preferred Alternative by the end of the year.
The Final EIS focuses on the Preferred Alternative, and is based on more detailed designs for the project compared to the level of design available for the Draft EIS. As a result, the analysis is also more detailed. The Final EIS also commits to how the negative impacts will be mitigated.