Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

Appendix D – Interview Questions for Selected Projects

The following questions have been developed to collect moderately detailed information regarding selected intermodal freight projects that have been influenced by environmental impacts or the environmental planning process. Please note that not all questions will be used with each interviewee, both because of inapplicability and/or because of prior knowledge of the contractor.

  1. Could you briefly describe the project?
    • What is the location, both in geographic region and immediate surroundings?
    • What modes and carriers are served? (Re-confirm a clear relationship to intermodal freight operations.)
    • What are the key commodity types served (e.g., containers, bulk, liquid bulk)?
    • What is the nature of facility ownership?
    • Who is the project planning entity?
  2. Is there federal funding or a federal permit involved?
  3. What is the current project development status, (e.g., feasibility stage, planning/NEPA stage, under construction, operational)?
  4. At what point in the project development process did you begin to consider environmental issues? For example, in the feasibility stage, conceptual design stage, or detailed design stage.
  5. Were there any project design or alternatives changes based on environmental issues?
  6. What were the main environmental impacts (positive and negative), in terms of the natural, physical, and human environments?
    • Key impacts (prompt if necessary) might be in the areas of:
      • Noise and vibration
      • Land use competition
      • Local transportation impacts
      • Socioeconomics/employment
      • Emissions and air quality
      • Water quality
      • Wetlands permitting
      • Hazardous materials / hazardous waste contamination or dredge spoils
      • Natural resources and biodiversity
      • Cultural or historical resources
      • Other environmental justice considerations
    • Were there any environmental impacts that the public or others perceived as potential impacts, but from an analytical standpoint were negligible?
  7. Did you prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement?
    • Was there an equivalent state or local environmental review process combined with the EA or EIS?
  8. Approximately how long did it take to prepare the EA or EIS and any associated state or local document?
    • Were there any delays related to having to combine the NEPA process with a state or local review process?
    • If so, what was the nature of that delay?
  9. Were there any project delays because of a consultation process or environmental permitting (e.g., 404 permit, Section 106 consultation with the SHPO, Section 7 consultation with US FWS)?
    • If yes, what was the nature of the delay (e.g., insufficient information submitted during consultation, difficulty reaching agreement with the reviewing agency, or delay on the part of the reviewing agency)?
  10. Was there a multi-agency review?
    • If yes, what agencies were involved and were there any associated problems?
    • If there was a private entity as the action proponent or local government applying for federal funding, was the multi-agency review process clear to them?
  11. What was the public perception?
    • How did you involve the public and how did the public involvement process work?
    • For example, did you form a citizen advisory group?

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