The Process RI/DOT is taking to get final toll approval as early as January 2013 should be understood and effective steps taken to formulate strategy.
NEPA – The federal law that controls. National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA)
Decision Agency: Federal Highway Administration will decide if RI/DOT has complied with NEPA on the toll project proposal.
Required to Proceed: Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) compliance
Methods: Reevaluation of an Existing EIS or Supplementing an EIS fully with a new issue
Reevaluation requires far less work, is not as public, deadlines short. RI/DOT has filed for a Reevaluation based on the original Sakkonnet River Bridge having a final EIS issued.
To be Approved RI/DOT must show that they have considered the adverse economic and social impacts for Federal –aid highway projects which includes adding the Toll to the bridge. Projects with clearly identified and significant social, economic , or environmental impacts always require 23 U.S.C. 109(h) Federal approval. Evidence of this compliance must be contained in the appropriate documentation.Further, it is FHWA policy that public involvement be an essential part of this process.
KEY DOCUMENTS TO REVIEW:
The First DRAFT REPORT OF Sakonnet Bridge
Includes study of traffic and financial revenue tolls could generate, never gets to social and economic impact study due to public pressure the toll is dropped from the application process entirely:
Final EIS Report on Sakkonnet river Bridge
http://www.commonwealth-eng.com/sakonnet/eis.htmlFinalEIS issued (no toll included in final )
Helpful for research :FAA Newlsetter on NEPA Reevaluation Standards
Example of Detail of Social and Economic Impact RI/DOT must produce