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What is the Alternatives Analysis/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (AA/DEIS)?

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act require any project using federal money to consider the environmental impacts of the project. These include impacts not only to natural resources, but also to neighborhoods, communities, historic sites and cultural resources. NEPA requires presentation of the needs for the project, consideration of reasonable alternatives to address the needs, and documentation of potential impacts, both positive and negative.

These potential impacts of the alternatives under consideration are presented in the AA/DEIS along with information on their benefits and costs. This document also proposes ways to avoid or reduce the possible impacts that could result from the alternatives under consideration. In addition, the AA/DEIS estimates the capital and operating and maintenance costs, the ridership, and cost effectiveness of each alternative. The AA/DEIS for the Purple Line follows the relevant Federal Transit Administration guidelines.

The AA/DEIS was available for public review for 90 days from October 17, 2008 to January 14, 2009. During this time, the MTA accepted and recorded public comments on the document and the project. The State of Maryland considered the public comments in making the decision on which alternative it selected. The Preferred Alternative was selected by Governor O'Malley in August 2009.