Norton Asks DOT Secretary for Review Period Extension on Virginia Avenue Tunnel EIS
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today wrote to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Anthony Foxx, requesting that the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project’s final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) review period be extended from 30 to at least 90 days and that a second community meeting be held so that her constituents have enough time to review the Final EIS before the Record of Decision is issued.
“The Final EIS is a very lengthy document, in five volumes,” wrote Norton, in her letter. “These residents will be substantially affected, often negatively, by any construction on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, and they need to be afforded sufficient time to review the documents and the ability to alert federal officials to any oversights.”
CSX’s Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project is privately funded, but Norton has been working with residents concerned about the proximity of the proposed tunnel construction, which would run through the District and close to their homes. She has hosted two community meetings with the surrounding community near Capitol Hill, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT), and CSX. Norton plans to attend a public meeting hosted by FHWA, DDOT and CSX on the Final EIS Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I Street SW.
The full text of Norton’s letter follows.
June 24, 2014
The Honorable Anthony Foxx
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary Foxx:
Thank you for the attention you, the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and other DOT agencies have paid to the proposed CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project as it has made its way through the environmental review process. As you know, District of Columbia residents and other members of the public have raised a number of concerns with the project. While they are searching through the over 2,600 pages of the Final Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for much-needed answers, I am concerned that residents will not have an opportunity to get copies of the Final EIS, review it and be heard on it if there is only one community meeting before the Record of Decision is issued.
The Final EIS is a very lengthy document, in five volumes. While I understand that copies of the Final EIS are being sent to persons who made comments to the Draft EIS and hard copies are being made available at the Southeast Neighborhood Libraries on 7th Street SE and Wesley Place SW, the CSX community office, the Arthur Capper Senior Center, the FHWA DC office, and at the D.C. Department of Transportation, I have heard from residents that copies are still inaccessible. These residents will be substantially affected, often negatively, by any construction on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, and they need to be afforded sufficient time to review the documents and the ability to alert federal officials to any oversights.
For these reasons, I am requesting that the public review period for the Final EIS be extended from 30 days to at least 90 days, and that an additional community meeting be held so that residents can attend after being afforded an opportunity to actually review all of the contents of the Final EIS. D.C. residents should have an opportunity to provide substantive comments to the FHWA. I ask that this request be given full and fair consideration consistent with applicable law, rules, and regulations.
Eleanor Holmes Norton