The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued guidance March 8 on how state transportation departments and local agencies can use additional surface-transportation funds to improve environmental streamlining for highway and transit projects.
The complete guidance, titled “Interagency Guidance: Transportation Funding for Federal Agency Coordination Associated with Environmental Streamlining” is available at www.environmental.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/igdocs/asp.
The guidance includes an AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence report that includes the results of the May 2005 survey of 50 state that assesses their funding and staff resources to participate in speeding along permits and helping with consultation.
To participate in the program, states must submit a request to the FHWA division administrator to use federal-aid funds to pay for costs that contribute to expediting and improving transportation project planning and delivery. Next is the approval by the division administrator and then an agreement between the state and the federal agency.
The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users expanded the assistance program, which was established by the previous surface transportation authorization, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Section 139(j) in SAFETEA-LU allows states to use funds as “assistance to affected state federal agencies.”