The Tier One study process followed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The NEPA process for the overall study was approached in two parts, or Tiers, with extensive stakeholder involvement throughout. The Tier One study was completed in December 2012; while the Tier Two study began in 2013.
The Tier One study results are documented in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which outlines the technical work and stakeholder input that support the Tier One preferred corridor.
Tier One studies involved the identification of transportation needs, the development and evaluation of alternative corridors for all modes, and the selection of a preferred corridor at a conceptual level of detail. A range of factors was considered in the decision making process including stakeholder input, engineering, and environmental considerations. As indicated, Tier One was completed in the winter of 2012.
In January 2013, Tier Two studies were initiated, with more in-depth discussion and analysis of the preferred corridor in Tier One. This will involve more detailed engineering and environmental studies to define a preliminary design and footprint of the project, and financing options. Tier Two may take an additional 24-36 months.
The Illiana Corridor Tier One EIS Study was initiated in April 2011 and was completed in January 2013. Tier Two EIS studies may take an additional 24-36 months. The Tier One and Tier Two EISs are the only phases of the project that are funded. Land acquisition, contract plan preparation, and construction currently are not funded.