FHWA Announces Environmental Rule Changes

This week the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released revised rules 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 as the FHWA and to coordinate environmental reviews with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The revisions will ensure that state agencies can produce a single environmental document, as well as combine a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), EIS with a Record of Decision (ROD), 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 in January of 2017 and November of 2017 as it proposed the rule changes over the past three years.
For more information, contact Brian Deery at [email protected] or (703) 837-5319.

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