April 11, 2003 | The Scope of Work for the SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) for transportation improvements in south Davis County
Talking Points from Utahns For Better Transportation (UBET)
April 11, 2003
SCOPING THE SEIS
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS)
Transportation Improvements in South Davis County
(aka The Legacy Parkway)
The Scope of Work for the SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) for transportation improvements in south Davis County will determine the range and depth of issues that will be addressed in the new studies required by the legal victory in the Legacy Parkway case. There are two main tasks required by the court decision: 1) address the insufficiencies in the Final EIS identified by the court, and 2) update information and analysis in the SEIS based on new information or developments that have occurred since the FEIS was issued and reconsideration of prior decisions where new information is significant.
The following is background information on the Scope of Work for the SEIS. In commenting on the scope of work, you should raise the following issues, and identify any information you believe is relevant to these issues.
10th Circuit Court Decision – Rulings in favor of UBET et al
- Sequencing – The court ruled the FEIS was inadequate because it did not analyze the impacts of different sequencing alternatives of the proposed transportation investments in south Davis County – the “Shared Solution” – that includes building the Legacy Highway, expanding the
I-15 freeway, and development of transit in the corridor. As UBET has argued all along, this means the agencies should seriously evaluate a “Transit 1st” alternative. The Court stated,
“Delaying the Legacy Parkway and I-15 project until after all or part of the public transit system expansion is in place is an alternative that could be reasonable and one the Agencies did not include in the FEIS, thus rendering it inadequate. Here, the Agencies were not faced with an unreasonable or speculative alternative; indeed, the Agencies relied upon public transit to meet part of the demand in 2020, and simply did not take a hard look at whether public transit could alleviate the immediacy of the need for the I-15 expansion of Legacy Parkway construction.”
- Integration – The court ruled the FEIS was inadequate because if failed to consider integrating the Legacy Highway with the expansion of public transit. An integrated approach to transit development is essential to make transit a viable and effective transportation option for some of our trips. The integration of transit system development coupled with supportive land use development patterns, road safety and efficiency improvements, and bicycle and pedestrian amenities are key to creating a balanced transportation system for our community.
- Road Alignment and Configuration – The court ruled that the Corps improperly issued the Clean Water Act (CWA) permit to fill wetlands to build the Legacy Parkway by dismissing an alternative road alignment with insufficient information. The court mentionned the D&RG alignment as one possible alternative but other road alternatives were also dismissed that would include linking arterial roads, frontage roads and connectors as an alternative vehicle route through south Davis County. The court also found the FEIS was inadequate because it did not consider the impact of a narrower right of way for the Legacy Parkway, which is proposed to have 330′ right of way.
- Wildlife Impact – The court ruled that the FEIS and CWA permit failed to adequately consider the impacts to wildlife. The court stated,
“Here the FEIS simply is inadequate to address the impact on migratory birds. Given that some two to five million birds use the GSL each year, a large portion of which are migratory birds, we find that limiting the wildlife impact analysis so that migratory birds are beyond its scope renders the FEIS inadequate.”
“Corps’s wildlife impact analysis, like the FEIS, was limited to consideration of impacts within 1000 feet of the project… we hold that the Corps acted arbitrarily and capriciously in granting the permit on this basis.”
New Information to Include in the SEIS
Under federal law, an EIS must be revised and updated to reflect any significant new information that has come to light since the EIS was issued, especially if it may affect project decisions.
Momentum has shifted 180 degrees in favor of transit development over the past three years. TRAX ridership and the vote of the people in 2000 to increase their own sales tax for more and better transit has every community wanting the next transit line. This shift in community desires and individual behavior needs to be factored into any new transportation such as the SEIS.
Travel demand and land use feedback models are being improved to better measure the impacts of various transportation investment strategies. New model capabilities will not be fully in place until end of 2003 and any new analysis should use the best tools we have for measuring the impacts and behaviors of different scenarios for dealing with the transportation impacts of population growth in the Greater Wasatch Area.