49 CFR 266.19 - Environmental impact.
(a) General. The Administrator has determined that providing assistance to cover the following costs is not a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment: Rehabilitation or improvement consisting of work normally performed on a periodic basis which does not change the existing character of the facility (including work to overcome normal periodic maintenance that had been deferred) rail service continuation, acquisition, and planning.
(b) Substitute service assistance, rail facility construction assistance, and non-exempt rehabilitation or improvement assistance -
(1) Environmental assessment.
(i) When an applicant requests substitute service assistance, rail facility construction assistance, or rehabilitation or improvement assistance (except for rehabilitation or improvement assistance which is exempt under paragraph (a) of this section), the applicant shall:
(A) Prepare an environmental assessment to determine whether the future use of the property will significantly affect the quality of the human environment; or
(B) Provide sufficient documentation to enable the Administrator to determine that the project satisfies the following criteria:
(1) The action is not likely to be environmentally controversial from the point of view of people living within the environment affected by the action or controversial with respect to the availability of adequate relocation housing;
(2) The action is not inconsistent with any Federal, State, or local law, regulation, ordinance, or judicial or administrative determination relating to environmental protection;
(3) The action will not have any significant adverse impact in any natural, cultural, recreational, or scenic environment(s) in which the action takes place, or on the air or water quality or ambient noise levels of such environment(s);
(4) The action will not: use 4(f)-protected properties; adversely affect properties under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act; involve new construction location in a wetlands area; or affect a base floodplain;
(5) The action will not cause a significant short- or long-term increase in traffic congestion, or other significant adverse environmental impact on any mode of transportation;
(6) The action is not an integral part of a program of actions which, when considered separately, would not be classified as major FRA actions, but when considered together would be so classified; and
(7) Environmental assessment or documentation is not required by any Federal law, regulation, guideline, order, or judicial or administrative determination other than this part.
(ii) Prior to submitting an application, FRA recommends that the applicant seek the Administrator's advice as to form and substance of the assessment for the project under consideration. The environmental assessment shall utilize an interdisciplinary approach in identifying the type, degree of effect, and probability of occurrence of primary, secondary and cumulative potential environmental impacts (positive and negative) of the proposed action and of alternative courses of action. The depth of coverage shall be consistent with the magnitude of the project and its expected environmental effects. The environmental assessment and all documents used as a basis for the assessment shall be submitted together with the application for assistance.
(2) Environmental impact statement. A draft environmental impact statement (EIS) shall be submitted with each application when the environmental assessment concludes that the future use significantly affects the quality of human environment. FRA recommends that prior to submitting the application, the applicant seek the Administrator's advice as to form and substance of the EIS for the project under consideration.
(3) Finding of no significant impact. A draft finding of no significant impact declaration shall be submitted with each application when the applicant's environmental assessment concludes that the figure use does not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. The finding of no significant impact shall include a description of the project, and sufficient data and environmental findings to support the conclusions as to the impact upon the quality of the human environment. FRA recommends that prior to submitting the application, the applicant seek the Administrator's advice as to the form and substance of this finding for the project under consideration.
(4) Section 4(f) determination. For projects involving the use of any land from a public park, recreation area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site of national, State or local significance as determined by the Federal, State, or local officials having jurisdiction thereon, information to support a determination pursuant to section 4(f) of the Act shall be submitted together with the application. The section 4(f) determination shall document that:
(i) There is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of such land; and
(ii) The project includes all planning to minimize harm resulting from such use.
(5) Historic preservation. For projects involving the use of historic, cultural or archeological resources listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, information which documents that the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has been afforded an opportunity for review and comment on the proposed project in accordance with 16 U.S.C. 470 and 36 36 CFR part 800 shall be submitted with the application.
(c) Highway or highway-related facilities. Substitute service projects involving highway or highway-related facilities are subject to the applicable substantive Federal Highway Administration regulations on environmental considerations (23 CFR part 771).