This three-year study seeks to determine how streamlining the tangle of railways in the nation’s fourth largest rail hub might impact communities and businesses, with the goal of improving train traffic. For citizens, the streamlining would translate to reduced vehicle congestion at crossings, improved emergency evacuation procedures, the ability for marine traffic to pass reliably through the Industrial Canal under the Almonaster Bridge, and improved environmental quality. This new efficiency, however, also has the potential to impact residential neighborhoods.
With this in mind, THA developed and implemented a strategic public outreach and involvement program to ensure the inclusion of low-income, minority, and other environmentally-disadvantaged groups in the decision making process and in the development of mitigation measures. The program not only satisfies NEPA requirements, but has gone above and beyond these in its coordination of local and parish officials, organization of constituent field trips and events, and development of content for the project’s web page.