Today is the final day for the public to submit official comments on the draft environmental impact statement/report (DEIS/R) for both projects.
As many of you already know, Metro staff planning each project have already made their recommendations for a “locally preferred alternative” (LPA) — i.e. the route for both projects, along with other particulars such as station locations.
A logical question: If the staff have already made their recommendations, why is the comment period still open?
1. It is ultimately be up to the Metro Board of Directors to decide what to move forward into a final environmental study, the prelude to actual construction of the project. That will happen when the full Metro Board meets on October 28. Before that, however, each project will be discussed this week in two Metro Committees — the Planning & Programming Committee on October 20 and the Measure R Project Delivery Committee on October 21. The staff reports needed to be released as a part of posting the agendas for those committee meetings. All public comments are being summarized for the Board before their Oct. 28 meeting, when they are scheduled to vote on selecting a LPA. That’s a key deadline to help both projects get federal funding.
2. Comments will be considered and answered as part of the final environmental studies for both projects.
It’s also worth mentioning that staff on both projects have been gathering public input for the past year on both projects — and, in fact, the public helped shape both projects with their questions, concerns and inquiries.