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Environmental Impact Statement: Hidalgo County, Texas

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Environmental Impact Statement: Hidalgo County, Texas

Michael T. Leary
Federal Highway Administration
August 28, 2015

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 167 (Friday, August 28, 2015)]
[Pages 52359-52360]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-20968]



Federal Highway Administration

Environmental Impact Statement: Hidalgo County, Texas

AGENCY: Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Federal Highway 
Administration (FHWA), Department of Transportation.

ACTION: Federal notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS).


SUMMARY: Pursuant to 40 CFR 1508.22, FHWA, on behalf of TxDOT, is 
issuing this notice to advise the public that an EIS will be prepared 
for a proposed transportation project to construct State Highway (SH) 
68 from Interstate (I)-2/United States Highway (US) 83 to I-69C/US 281 
in Hidalgo County, Texas. Areas within the study area include the 
cities of Alamo, Pharr, Donna, Edinburg, San Juan, and San Carlos.

[[Page 52360]]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Homer Bazan, Jr., P.E., Director of 
Transportation Planning and Development--TxDOT Pharr District, 600 W. 
Interstate 2, Pharr, Texas, 78577; telephone: 956-702-6100; email: 
Homer.Bazan@txdot.gov. TxDOT's normal business hours are 8:00 a.m.-5:00 
p.m., Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The environmental review, consultation, and 
other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for 
this project are being, or have been, carried-out by TxDOT pursuant to 
23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 16, 
2014, and executed by FHWA and TxDOT. TxDOT will prepare an EIS for the 
proposed SH 68 from I-2/US 83 to I-69C/US 281, listed in the 2015--2040 
Hidalgo County Metropolitan Transportation Plan as a 4-lane divided 
rural highway facility with the potential for main lanes and 
overpasses. There is no existing facility; therefore, the project is 
proposed on new location.
    The purpose of the project is to improve north/south mobility, 
increase travel capacity for local and regional traffic, and provide an 
alternate north-south evacuation routes during emergency events. The 
project need is a lack of sufficient north/south mobility for local and 
regional traffic and for additional emergency evacuation routes, which 
are the result of historical and continuing growth in the region's 
population as well as continued growth of traffic in the region.
    The significance of impacts for the proposed SH 68 project was 
initially uncertain, so the process began by preparing an environmental 
assessment (EA). Based on preliminary analysis and feedback from the 
public, it was determined that an EIS should be prepared. The EIS will 
incorporate information collected during the EA process; in addition, 
public input gathered during the development of the EA will be 
considered in the EIS process. The EIS will develop and evaluate a 
range of alternatives including ``No-action'' (the no-build 
alternative), Transportation System Management (TSM)/Transportation 
Demand Management (TDM), rapid transit and roadway build alternatives. 
The EIS will analyze potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts 
from construction and operation of proposed corridor improvements 
including, but not limited to, the following: transportation impacts; 
air quality and noise impacts; water quality impacts including storm 
water runoff; impacts to waters of the United States including 
wetlands; impacts to floodplains; impacts to historic and archeological 
resources; impacts to threatened and endangered species; socioeconomic 
impacts including environmental justice communities; impacts to and/or 
potential displacements of land use, vegetation, residents and 
businesses; and impacts to aesthetic and visual resources.
    Public involvement is a critical component of the project 
development process and will occur throughout the planning and study 
phases. Letters describing the proposed action including a request for 
comments will be sent to appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies 
and to private organizations and citizens who have previously expressed 
or are known to have interest in this proposal. Agency and public 
scoping meetings are planned for late 2015. The purpose of the public 
scoping meetings is to identify significant and other relevant issues 
related to SH 68 mobility improvements as part of the National 
Environmental Policy Act process. The scoping meetings will provide 
opportunities for participating agencies, cooperating agencies, and the 
public to be involved in review and comment on the draft coordination 
plan, defining the need and purpose for the proposed project, and the 
range of alternatives to be considered in the EIS. In addition to the 
agency and public scoping meetings, a public hearing will be held. 
Public notice will be given of the time and place of the meetings and 
hearing. To ensure that the full range of issues related to this 
proposed action is addressed and all significant issues are identified, 
comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties. Such 
comments or questions concerning this proposed action should be 
directed to TxDOT at the address provided above.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, 
Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing 
Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on 
Federal programs and activities apply to this program.)

    Issued on: August 19, 2015.
Michael T. Leary,
Director, Planning and Program Development, Federal Highway 
[FR Doc. 2015-20968 Filed 8-27-15; 8:45 am]

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