Michael Holtzman | Herald News

Federal officials weighing in on environmental impacts of the envisioned South Coast Rail project this week strongly questioned whether those impacts favored the Stoughton alternative as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended in September.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said they “continue to support the commonwealth of Massachusetts’ goal of expanded mass transit serving the South-coast region.”

In particular, EPA officials noted the efforts to improve transportation between Fall River, New Bedford and Boston with the estimated $2.2 billion South Coast Rail project as it enters a lengthy permitting stage.

But in seven pages of comments EPA officials submitted to the Army Corps after that agency issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Report, EPA Regional Administrator H. Curtis Spalding said: “Our review revealed outstanding issues that we identified previously … that should be addressed before the Corps finalizes a (Record of Decision) for the project.” {….}