ARCHIVE: PACT FAQs
1. What is happening with the I-70 East EIS?
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are undertaking the next stage of the Interstate 70 East Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A collaborative decision-making process was used to help with the identification of a preferred transportation alternative for I-70 from I-25 to Tower Road This process began with the formation of the I-70 Preferred Alternative Collaborative Team (PACT) in July of 2010 and ended in July 2011. The process is compliant with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The preferred alternative will be documented in the Final EIS.
2. What is a collaborative process, and what are the benefits of this process?
A collaborative process is one in which a group of stakeholders collectively defines and resolves a mutually held problem. The solution is arrived at through dialogue and exploration of alternatives. Through mutual understanding over time, collaborative groups can discover solutions that may not have been evident initially.
3. Is the collaborative process the only way to reach a preferred alternative?
No. The alternative to engaging in a collaborative process is the standard Environmental Impact Statement process in which CDOT and FHWA communicate with parties separately through letters or small meetings. In this process, CDOT and FHWA alone would have the authority to make decisions for the benefit of all highway users.
4. Why is this collaborative decision-making exercise being added to the process the I-70 East EIS team has used for the past seven years?
CDOT committed to selecting the preferred alternative in partnership with corridor communities and stakeholders during the 2008 hearings on the Draft EIS. CDOT has recently used collaborative decision-making to identify preferred alternatives in major corridor studies to ensure that stakeholders have a voice in the outcome. Collaborative processes have been used to identify preferred alternatives for the I-70 Mountain Corridor, the U.S. 36 Corridor and the I-25 North Corridor. The Keystone Center has been retained as a neutral facilitator. With more than 30 years of experience, The Keystone Center successfully facilitated the selection of consensus preferred alternatives for the I-70 Mountain Corridor in 2008 and the South Broadway and I-25 interchange in 2007.
5. What is consensus and why is that method of decision-making appropriate now?
Consensus is a method of decision-making in which every participant can live with or support the decision, which is built by identifying and exploring all parties' interests and by developing an outcome that satisfies these interests to the greatest extent possible. This method of decision-making requires open dialogue among members of the group, where every person has an opportunity to participate in the discussion. At minimum, every participant should be able to say that they believe the decision is the best that can be achieved knowing all the interests and limitations.
This method will be important in the I-70 decision-making process because all neighborhood, business and other civic groups must be able to understand the potential impacts of each alignment so they can come to consensus around a preferred alternative that satisfies their and others' interests to the greatest extent possible.
6. Who will serve on the PACT?
The I-70 Preferred Alternative Collaborative Team (PACT) will include individuals representing various interested entities and communities within Adams County, Aurora, Commerce City and Denver. CDOT and FHWA will have representatives on the PACT.
7. How will the participants and individuals be selected?
Entities represented on the PACT have interests that would be impacted by the preferred alternative. Individual representatives of corridor business and residents will be selected to serve on the PACT during community or business workshops in July. Participants will be selected on their ability to work collaboratively in groups, their experience within their interest group to represent its interests effectively and their ability to communicate effectively with their interest group's members. Selected members may have a personal preference on the decision at hand, but they also will be able to understand the viewpoints of others.
8. How can all of the diverse perspectives of the corridor be represented in the PACT?
Individual representatives are selected on the basis that they possess the ability to reach out to the individuals or groups they represent and ensure that their groups understand the depth and variety of interests they bring to the table, as well as the ability to bring the range of perspectives within the constituencies back to the PACT.
9. What will the PACT do?
The PACT's work will be based on the Draft EIS alternatives and public involvement process, including comments submitted for the Draft EIS. The PACT will discuss and enhance the four existing alternatives in order to build an agreement on a preferred alternative. No new or previously eliminated alternatives will be considered.
10. What are the alternatives being considered?
There are four transportation build alternatives and the no-action alternative. The no-action alternative only replaces the I-70 viaduct at its existing location; no additional capacity would be added. The four remaining build alternatives add capacity to the Interstate. These build alternatives require decisions about the location of the highway and the use of general purpose or managed (tolled Express) lanes.
11. Will the meetings be open to the public?
The meetings will be designed for the PACT participants to have the most productive dialogue possible, but all will be open to the public. There will be some scheduled opportunities for public participation.
12. How will we be able to learn about the meeting schedule and agenda?
There will be several ways to keep up to speed on the PACT process:
The website, www.i-70east.com, will be kept up to date with announcements of meetings and any documents that may be produced during the collaborative effort.
Neighborhood Solutions, the organization that conducted much of the public outreach in recent years, also will conduct outreach and awareness activities at the start of this process.
13. Do CDOT and FHWA have a preference for one of the alternatives?
There is no "favorite," among the four build alternatives because no single alternative stands out as better than the others. Each has positives and negatives. CDOT and FHWA will participate as members of the PACT in the development of a recommend alternative through an open and transparent collaborative process.
14. Why is CDOT moving forward with the I-70 East EIS process?
It's critical to make a decision now so efforts can move forward to address safety issues. The 50-year-old viaduct is nearing the end of its expected lifetime and is considered a poor bridge. CDOT is finishing up repairs on the viaduct, but the repairs will only extend the life of the structure by 15-20 years. After that, it would be cost prohibitive to conduct any major repairs on the structure.
15. What happens if there is no agreement?
It is the facilitation team's goal that the PACT will reach agreement on all significant questions that have been raised during the deliberative process. In the event that the PACT does not reach agreement on all of the issues, then officials with CDOT and FHWA will use the discussions and products of the PACT to make the remaining decisions.
16. What are the next steps once a preferred alternative is identified?
Once a preferred alternative is recommended, the project team will begin preparing the Final EIS. Following a public comment period that will include public hearings on the Final EIS, FHWA is expected to issue a record of decision.
17. Do I still have a voice in the decision making process?
Yes. You can voice your questions or concerns through the project website Feedback Form. In addition, there will be a public comment period and public hearings once the Final EIS is complete.