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Decision Making Process

The Gold Line Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) decision-making
process was marked by four key phases.  Using technical analysis and
community input, the range of Gold Line alternatives was narrowed at
each phase.  Evaluations became increasingly detailed as alternatives
were eliminated, until a Preferred Alternative was selected in spring of
2007.  The four phases of the Gold Line EIS were as follows:

Scoping (Summer 2006) - Defined the Purpose and Need for the project and determined the alternatives for initial consideration.

Conceptual Screening of Alternatives (Fall 2006) -
At this initial phase of screening, all alternatives underwent Level 1
(a.k.a. Fatal Flaw) analysis.  This mostly qualitative analysis was
designed to remove from consideration alternatives that had no
reasonable chance of being built because of obvious environmental,
financial or institutional flaws.

Detailed Evaluation of Alternatives (Late 2006 / Early 2007) -
Alternatives that passed Level 1 analysis underwent more detailed,
quantitative screening in Level 2 analysis. Those that passed Level 2
analysis moved on to a third, even more detailed, quantitative analysis
using multiple criteria, including projected cost, travel time, parking
demands, ridership, community impacts and environmental impacts.  

Selection of the PA (Summer 2007) - Based on the results of Detailed Evaluation, the Gold Line Team identified a Preferred Alternative for the corridor.

Release of Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Summer 2008)- Following the selection of the Preferred Alternative, the Gold Line team conducted engineering studies to identify the alternative's likely impacts and proposed mitigation measures.  All of this information was integrated into the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which was published in summer 2008. Following its publication, the public had 45 days to make formal comments on the findings and recommendations in the document.  The comment period culminated with two public hearings. RTD responded to all Draft EIS comments and incorporated them into the Final EIS.

Release of Final Environmental Impact Statement (Summer 2009)- The Final EIS contains the Gold Line team's recommendation to the RTD board for which alternative should move forward into final design and construction. This recommendation was presented in August 2009. The RTD board made the final decision on the Gold Line and submitted the Final EIS to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for ultimate approval.

Record of Decision (Fall 2009)- The FTA issued a Record of Decision in (ROD) November 2009 to articulate their approval of the Gold Line Preferred Alternative, allowing RTD to move into the final design and construction phases. The Gold Line is scheduled to begin construction in 2012 and be operational by 2016.

Gold Line Committees

In order to effectively integrate the feedback of local municipalities and regulatory agencies, RTD formed two committees to participate in the Gold Line EIS: a Local Governments Team and an Agency Working Group.

Local Governments Team
The Local Governments Team was charged with providing recommendations to RTD and FTA at each of the key decision milestones.  Although not a decision-making body, the group's recommendations and guidance were a key component of RTD's decision-making process.  The group was comprised of representatives from City and County of Denver, City of Arvada, City of Wheat Ridge, Town of Mountain View, Jefferson County, Adams County and DRCOG.

Agency Working Group
The Agency Working Group (AWG) met at every decision milestone to provide policy guidance and recommendations to RTD and FTA.  The group was comprised of representatives from:
  • Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Colorado Department of Transportation
  • Colorado Division of Wildlife
  • RTD Board
  • State Historical Preservation Office
  • Union Pacific Railroad
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Urban Drainage and Flood Control District
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