About the Project

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Regional Transportation District (RTD), in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), studied highway, transit and bike improvements between Denver and Boulder in the U.S. 36 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from 2003 to 2009.

Project History

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Regional Transportation District (RTD), in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, have been studying highway, transit and bike improvements between Denver and Boulder in the U.S. 36 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) since 2003. A Draft EIS was released in August 2007 that evaluated a variety of transportation solutions within two “build” packages and a “no build” alternative for the U.S. 36 Corridor. The majority of public comments requested a transportation solution that further reduced the community and environmental impacts, decreased project cost and still provided for increased mobility improvements.

In July 2008, a Recommendation for a Combined Alternative was agreed upon and endorsed by the U.S. 36 Preferred Alternative Committee.  The recommendation includes both transit and highway improvements that are responsive to the public and provide long-term transportation benefits. The Combined Alternative became identified as the Preferred Alternative in the U.S. 36 Final EIS.

The U.S. 36 Final EIS was released for public review in October 2009. The U.S. 36 Final EIS included a comparative analysis of the two “build” alternatives and the “no-build” alternative outlined in the Draft EIS and the Combined Alternative Package (Preferred Alternative). A 45-day public review and comment period took place following the release of U.S. 36 Final EIS, and included three public hearings. Over one hundred comments were received from members of the public, corridor jurisdictions, and state and federal agencies. These comments were responded to in the Record of Decision.

In December 2009, FHWA and FTA signed the U.S. 36 Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD is the federal decision document that describes the transportation project, explains the rationale for the project decision and makes commitments as to how the project will mitigate any impacted environmental resources, such as air, water and noise.  The ROD completes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.  

The completion of the NEPA process better positions U.S. 36 improvements to qualify for state and federal funding.


EIS Decision Making

Decision Making Process

The Path to Decision Making
The path to decision making will be marked by milestones, which will serve as focal points of input to decision makers. These milestones are:

    • Determination of broad universe of alternatives for initial consideration
    • Identification of criteria for narrowing/selecting alternatives
    • Screening of initial alternatives to a narrowed set of alternatives for detailed evaluation
    • Selection of a preferred alternative

The Decision Makers
Executive Oversight Committee
Responsibility for decision making will rest with the lead federal agencies (FHWA and FTA) in concert with the project proponents (CDOT and RTD) that will implement such decisions. These four agencies comprise the Executive Oversight Committee.

Corridor Governments Committee and Technical Support Committee (2003-2007)
The NEPA decision-making process recognizes that there are local political jurisdictions within which proposed improvements would be implemented. In the past, one elected official from each municipal and county jurisdiction in the study area were part of the Corridor Governments Committee (CGC). The CGC provided the perspective of their respective jurisdictions, considered the transportation corridor as a whole, and reviewed information that was generated during the study, such as public input to make recommendations to the Executive Oversight Committee at key milestones in the project. The deliberations of the CGC were informed by the technical advice from the Technical Support Committee (TSC). The TSC was comprised of technical staff appointed by the local jurisdictions and by other stakeholders such as the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the Transportation Mobility Organization. These committees met throughout the EIS study from 2003 to 2007.

The U.S. 36 Preferred Alternative Committee (2008)
The U.S. 36 Preferred Alternative Committee (PAC) is a 21-member group comprised of agency representatives (CDOT, RTD, FHWA, FTA), elected officials, and technical staff from local jurisdictions. The PAC was convened in 2008 following the US 36 DEIS Public Hearings and had been charged to collaboratively develop a ‘combination’ alternative for the U.S. 36 Corridor using elements evaluated during the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  In July 2008 the PAC agreed to a recommendation for a Combined Alternative. After additional analysis to verify that the selected elements effectively perform and achieve the project’s goals, it is expected that the Combined Alternative be adopted as a Preferred Alternative that will be carried through the U.S. 36 FEIS, per the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  

The Role of the Public in Decision Making
Decision making is not accomplished through public referendum, nor does the NEPA process require a public consensus. However, the ideas, perspectives, and needs of the public are a critical element in the thinking by the decision makers described above in their respective roles in the decision-making process. Implementation of the Public Involvement Plan will provide clearly defined points in time and the means by which to bring public input to the decision makers. It will be essential to create transparency in the progression of the decision-making process through the EIS and to report back to the public what the decision makers heard from the public and how public input has influenced decision making.


Project Timeline


Project Timeline