Environmental Process

Because Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority and METRO Purple Line BRT Project (formerly Rush Line BRT Project) partners intend to pursue federal funds for the project, the project followed a planning process prescribed and overseen by the Federal Transit Administration, shown below in the diagram. Ramsey County recently completed the Environmental Analysis Phase of the project, which included preparation of an Environmental Assessment.

The Environmental Assessment was available for public comment between May 11 and June 25, 2021. All comments received were reviewed by the Federal Transit Administration and Ramsey County, the lead federal and local agencies for the METRO Purple Line BRT Project. Substantive comments are responded to in the environmental decision document, or Finding of No Significant Impact, which the Federal Transit Administration approved on October 5, 2021.

View the recordings of the virtual Environmental Assessment open house events held on June 2 and June 3, 2021.

Since the close of the public comment period, the Federal Transit Administration and Ramsey County completed environmental decision documents, which conclude the Environmental Analysis Phase of the project.

Rush Line FTA process graphic

What is an Environmental Assessment?

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An Environmental Assessment is a report that explains why the project is needed and the process used to define the locally preferred alternative. The Environmental Assessment summarizes the expected benefits and impacts of a proposed project in accordance with regulations established under the National Environmental Policy Act and Minnesota Environmental Policy Act. The purpose of the report is to:

  • Evaluate potential environmental, social, economic and transportation benefits and impacts from construction and operation of the project along with other past, present and planned projects.
  • Identify solutions to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts.
  • Satisfy the requirements of state and federal environmental laws.

As part of the cultural and historic resource evaluation (referred to as the Section 106 process), a draft Memorandum of Agreement was prepared to document how adverse effects to cultural and historic resources could be addressed as the project moves forward. This document is included with the Environmental Assessment.

Watch this two-minute video about the Environmental Assessment

Read the Environmental Decision Documents

Finding of No Significant Impact (31 MB)

The Finding of No Significant Impact is a report in which the Federal Transit Administration briefly explains the reasons why, based on the results of the Environmental Assessment, a project will not have a significant effect on the human environment and, therefore, why an environmental impact statement will not be prepared. The Finding of No Significant Impact is the final stage of the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act for the METRO Purple Line BRT Project. The Finding of No Significant Impact is the Federal Transit Administration’s environmental decision document. Responses to substantive comments on the Environmental Assessment can be found in Appendix G and all public comments can be found in Appendix H.

The final Memorandum of Agreement, which documents how adverse effects to cultural and historic resources will be addressed, is also included in the Finding of No Significant Impact.

Findings of Fact and Conclusions (32 MB)

The Findings of Fact and Conclusions is Ramsey County’s record, including specific findings of fact supporting its final environmental decision on the METRO Purple Line project. Based on the Findings of Fact and Conclusions, Ramsey County determined an Environmental Impact Statement for the project is not warranted.

Read the Environmental Assessment

The Environmental Assessment and all appendices are available below. All documents are in PDF format. Due to large file sizes, some documents may take a few moments to load on your device.

Environmental Assessment – May 11, 2021

Rush Line Bus Rapid Transit – Environmental Assessment (25 MB)

Appendix A – Concept Plans

15% Concept Plans (41 MB)

Appendix B – Agency Coordination

Agency Coordination (4 MB)

Appendix C – Section 106 Coordination

Section 106 Coordination (12 MB)

Appendix D – Section 4(f) Evaluation

Section 4(f) Evaluation (37 MB)

Appendix E – Technical Reports

Technical reports are divided into three parts due to file size constraints.

Part 1 (140 MB)

Part 1 includes the following reports:

  • Purpose and Need.
  • Alternatives Refinement Summary.
  • Ridership and Operations.
  • Traffic.
  • Land Use and Economics.
  • Archaeological Report.
  • Lake Superior & Mississippi Historic District Phase II Evaluation.

Part 2 (246 MB)

Part 2 includes the following report:

  • Architecture History.

Part 3 (91 MB)

Part 3 includes the following reports:

  • Section 106 Assessment of Effects.
  • Environmental Justice.
  • Natural Resources.
  • Stormwater.
  • Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.
  • Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.
  • Noise and Vibration.
  • Air Quality.
  • Indirect and Cumulative Effects.

Appendix F – Other Supporting Information

Other Supporting Information (26 MB)

Appendix G – Rush Line Bus Rapid Transit Project Environmental Assessment Worksheet

Rush Line BRT Project Environmental Assessment Worksheet (12 MB)

How does the Environmental Assessment fit into the decision-making process?

Diagram showing the six key steps between publication of the Environmental Assessment and construction of the project.
Six key steps between publication of the Environmental Assessment and project construction.