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Mat-Su BoroughAlaska Railroad

Terms and Definitions

Familiarize yourself with these terms and definitions common to the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension Project:

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. An EIS describes the impacts; the purpose of, and need for, the action; alternatives (including “no action”); and the potential environmental consequences.

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 consider potential environmental impacts before approving major projects that are subject to federal control and responsibility. To meet this requirement, federal agencies may 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.

Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA): The SEA is the office within the STB responsible for directing the environmental review process, conducting independent analysis of all environmental data, and making environmental recommendations to the STB. The SEA uses third-party contractors to aid in preparing environmental documentation necessary to comply with the requirements of NEPA and related environmental laws in STB proceedings.

Surface Transportation Board (STB): The STB is the lead federal agency for the Port MacKenzie 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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