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Purple Line BRT Project

Environmental Process

The Purpose & Need of the Purple Line project, as outlined in the Environmental Assessment below, is to:

  •  Provide transit service that satisfies the long-term regional mobility and accessibility needs for businesses and the traveling public and supports sustainable development within the corridor area. 
    • Serving the needs of people who rely on transit
    • Meeting increasing demand for reliable, high-frequency transit. 
    • Planning for sustainable growth and development. 
    • Expanding multimodal travel options. 

Environmental review and compliance is an integral component of the METRO Purple Line to identify benefits and impacts to the environment, community, and businesses in the corridor. All new transit projects applying for federal funding under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program are required to complete an environmental review document per the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). This page provides information about the environmental regulations affecting the Purple Line and links to relevant environmental studies and reports.

Environmental assessment and decision documents (2021)

The METRO Purple Line has completed an environmental assessment document to describe the transportation, social, and environmental impacts associated with the construction and operation of the project.

Public comments were collected from May 11 – June 25, 2021. View the Public Open House Boards (June 2021). The comments, along with the other environmental analysis that has been done, has been used to make a decision about how the Purple Line will affect the region it serves. The Metropolitan Council is the lead regional agency in this decision, and the Federal Transit Administration is the lead federal agency.

The FTA has determined the environmental assessment adequately addressed impacts of the project, and has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) document, which means the project will move forward without additional required analysis from the FTA. Responses to substantive comments on the environmental assessment are included in the FONSI.  

The environmental assessment is an analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act that evaluates impacts and benefits from proposed projects. 

What is the purpose of the analysis?

  • Ensure compliance with environmental laws
  • Evaluate benefits and impacts to environmental, social, economic, and transportation resources
  • Identify solutions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts
  • Inform the public and agencies on impacts as part of the decision-making process

What is evaluated in the environmental assessment?

  • Ridership and Operations
  • Traffic
  • Land Use and Economics
  • Archaeology and Architecture History
  • Environmental Justice
  • Natural Resources
  • Stormwater Resources
  • Contaminated and Hazardous Materials
  • Noise and Vibration
  • Air Quality
  • Section 4(f) and 6(f): Park and recreation areas
  • Other Supporting Information: Railway, pedestrians and bicycles, energy, visual resources, safety and security, utilities, geology, groundwater, and soils

Section 106 Assessment of Effects and Final Determination of Effect for Historic Properties

Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement Implementation

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) requires projects receiving federal funding to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the FTA and Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (MnHPO) guides the implementation of this process. 

The Council and FTA began reporting to MnSHPO and other Section 106 consulting parties in January 2022 on implementation of the MOA. These reports are available below.


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 (9 MB)

Appendix A – Concept Plans

15% Concept Plans (30 MB)

Appendix B – Agency Coordination

Agency Coordination (2 MB)

Appendix C – Section 106 Coordination

Section 106 Coordination (11 MB)

Appendix D – Section 4(f) Evaluation

Section 4(f) Evaluation (13 MB)

Appendix E – Technical Reports

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

Part 1 (96 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 (102 MB)

Part 2 includes the following report:

  • Architecture History

Part 3 (72 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 (9 MB)

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

Rush Line BRT Project Environmental Assessment Worksheet (5 MB)