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FHWA Finalizes Rule to Improve, Streamline Environmental Review Processes

October 29, 2018

AGC Supported Revisions Included

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the release of revised rules that are intended to streamline National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review requirements and adjust other key environmental rules to speed up and ensure “greater consistency” in the permitting of surface transportation projects. The rule changes also allow the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to adopt the same procedures and coordinates environmental reviews with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The revisions will ensure that state agencies are allowed to produce a single environmental document, as well as combine a final Environmental Impact Statement or EIS with a Record of Decision or ROD document for any project. Another key provision allows projects that are within the highway right-of-way to use the far less onerous and cumbersome categorical exclusion (CE) provisions for the environmental review.

In making the release FHWA Deputy Administrator Brandye Hendrickson said, “We anticipate increased project efficiency and the elimination of confusion for multimodal projects. The rule also updates some of our environmental rule policies and ensures greater consistency, reducing duplicative efforts, and reiterating the ability to produce a single environmental document.”

AGC worked for the inclusion of these and other environmental streamlining provisions in both the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) transportation authorization bills. AGC also provided comments to FHWA on two occasions as it proposed the rule changes over the past three years.

For more information, please contact AGC’s Brian Deery (highway and transportation) at deeryb@agc.org or Leah Pilconis (environmental streamlining) at pilconisl@agc.org. 

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