The Florida DOT has unveiled a new process intended to improve the delivery of Florida's transportation projects by involving regulatory and environmental permitting agencies in the earliest stages of transportation decision making.
The new streamlined process was adopted by federal, state and local officials on Dec. 14, 2001, at the second executive summit on environmental streamlining for the southern region of the country. Florida's process was formalized at the summit with the signing of a memorandum by representatives of 24 federal, state and local agencies. They agreed to:
*Endorse the Efficient Transportation Decision Making Process and commit to support it; and
*Work cooperatively to create mutually agreeable agency-specific operating agreements to implement the Efficient Transportation Decision Process, as well as many other actions.
The EMTD process calls for interagency teams to help develop plans and coordinate project reviews statewide. The process uses interactive computer technology to facilitate agency participation aimed to speed up transportation project reviews while at the same time protecting the environment and ensuring meaningful input from environmental and permitting agencies to the public.
The process calls for each region of the state of Florida to have its own Interagency Advisory Team--dubbed Environmental Technical Advisory Teams (ETAT). The teams will include representatives of each agency with the authority to decide or approve related transportation projects. The agencies, including planning, resource protection and environmental permitting authorities will appoint a transportation representative to each committee.
Agency representatives will be responsible for a variety of duties such as coordinating transportation project reviews within their agencies and providing feedback to the transportation entity, whether it be the state DOT or the metropolitan planning organization.
The state's Geographic Data Library houses the interactive geographic information system, which enables team members to access information and provide input. This information also will be accessible to the public on a read-only basis.