Northern Rail Extension Project

Terms and Definitions

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): An EIS is the documentation of a study for federal projects that are expected to have significant social, economic, and/or environmental impacts. The purpose is to determine what impacts a transportation project might generate in regard to the natural and physical environment as well as the relationship of people with that environment. Issues such as impacts to wetlands, streams, rivers and wildlife as well as homes, businesses and communities, will be studied in relation to the proposed project.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA): The Federal Railroad Administration publicizes and enforces rail safety regulations; administers railroad assistance programs; conducts research and development in support of improved railroad safety and national rail transportation policy; and consolidates government support of rail transportation activities. The FRA is one of ten agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation concerned with intermodal transportation.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA): FTA is one of eleven modal administrations within the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Federal government, through the FTA, provides financial assistance to develop new transit systems and improve, maintain, and operate existing systems.

Mass Transit: Another name for public transportation. Transportation by bus, rail, or other conveyance, either publicly or privately owned, which provides to the public general or special service on a regular and continuing basis.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): NEPA is the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. It declared a national policy to "encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment." NEPA requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions. To meet this requirement, federal agencies prepare a detailed statement known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviews and comments on EISs prepared by other federal agencies and maintains a national filing system for all EISs.

Surface Transportation Board (STB): STB is the lead federal agency for the Northern Rail Extension Project. It is an economic regulatory agency that Congress charged with the fundamental missions of resolving railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers. The STB is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Transportation.


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