EIS Archive

EIS Glossary of Terms

Terms and acronyms that are commonly used in the Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement Project environmental review and website are provided below.

Design Life: Projected life (in years) of a new structure or structural component carrying the load (or weight) for which it was designed and under normal environmental conditions before replacement or major rehabilitation is expected.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS): The draft version of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that documents the potential social, economic and environmental effects of a proposed project or action and alternatives to it. It is released to the public and agencies for review and comment.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): The report that is required by the National Environment Policy Act of 1969, which documents the potential social, economic, and environmental effects of a proposed project or action, and alternatives to it.

Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS): The environmental document prepared following the close of the comment period for the Draft EIS (DEIS). The FEIS incorporates changes to the project analyses, and reflects pertinent agency and public comment on the DEIS. The FEIS, if not done previously, also reveals the alternative selected for the project.

Fixed Railroad Bridge: A railroad bridge characterized by permanent horizontal and vertical alignment.

Infrastructure: The underlying foundation or basic framework of a system.

Lead Federal Agency: The federal agency taking primary responsibility for preparing an environmental impact statement, as prescribed in 40CFR§1508.16.

Mean High Water (MHW): The average of high tide water heights observed over a period.

Mitigation: Planning of project design and/or construction to avoid or overcome adverse impacts.

Moveable Railroad Bridge: A railroad bridge where the horizontal or vertical alignment is such that it can be mechanically manipulated to permit the passage of traffic underneath.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Legislation enacted in 1969 that established a national environmental policy requiring that any project using federal funding or requiring federal approval (including transportation projects) must examine the effects that the proposal and alternative choices would have on the environment before a federal decision is made.

Northeast Corridor: The electrified railway line that runs from Washington, D.C. to Boston, Massachusetts, passing through Baltimore, Maryland; Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; New Haven, Connecticut; and Providence, Rhode Island.

Notice of Intent (NOI): A notice published in the Federal Register advising that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared, with a brief description of the proposed action and possible alternatives, and contact information for obtaining further information about the project and preparation of the DEIS.

Project Sponsor: The agency proposing to build or implement a proposed project or action.

Scoping: A step in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process that provides an opportunity for members of the general public, stakeholders, and others to comment on the purpose and need of a proposed project/action, the types of alternatives to be considered, and to provide input on the issues and concerns that should be addressed in the EIS.

Scoping Document: The first document in the environmental review process to receive public comment. It is usually made available just prior to the Public Scoping Meeting.

Swing Span Rail Bridge: A moveable bridge with a span that pivots (swings) open to allow traffic to pass through or underneath. The existing Portal Bridge is an example of a swing span rail bridge.

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