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Archived Discussions:Obtaining NEPA approval from FHWA post Feb. 9, 2011 guidance on Transportation Planning Requirements and Their Relationship to …

  • Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed in the group area discussions are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government, the Department of Transportation, or the Federal Highway Administration.
Post
Edited: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Judy

Obtaining NEPA approval from FHWA post Feb. 9, 2011 guidance on "Transportation Planning Requirements and Their Relationship to NEPA Process Completion"

Our State DOT has submitted a CE for approval to FHWA for a project that is funded for preliminary engineering, environment/NEPA, and design in the current Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).  Based on the February 9, 2011 guidance entitled "Supplement to January 28, 2008 "Transportation Planning Requirements and Their Relationship to NEPA Process Completion"" our FHWA division has stated they will not issue a CE for the project w/o "one subsequent phase of the project included in the current STIP" and full funding "reasonably available".  Essentially, to get CE approval our FHWA is requiring us to identify construction funding for this project even though the construction phase of the project falls outside the current 4-year window of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). 

Have others had difficulty in securing NEPA approvals, based on FHWA Division staff interperting the February 9, 2011 guidance in this way for projects that are not funded for construction within the 4-year window of the STIP?

In advance, Thank you for your response.

2011-04-05 10:04:31
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Have you been successful at obtaining approval under these circumstances?
7/12/2011 2:18 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
State DOT
Under the new guidance, it is possible to obtain NEPA approval for projects that are only funded for PE, NEPA and final design if the construction phase falls outside the 4-year window STIP or TIP.
7/11/2011 7:44 AM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Dan
The project must be programmed in the financially-constrained RTP and FTIP through construction, otherwise a FONSI or ROD can not be signed. It's that simple.
7/8/2011 1:05 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
In reference to the 04/07/2011 01:08 PM post, we (in Florida) have been working under the assumption that just having design funded in the STIP and TIP was enough to get our documents approved.  We will be submitting a CE Type II this year that has no construction funded in the STIP/TIP for LDCA so I hope that is correct.   
7/7/2011 1:52 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
StateDOT
A CSJ stands for Control-section-job - a project identifier used by TexasDOT.  I'm not sure why this person is throwing around allegations of segmentation when your original post clearly references "a project".  This type of misinformed and negative ReNEPA response is not helpful.  
7/7/2011 8:46 AM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Judy
These are independent utility projects that in no way could be segmented.What is a "CSJ"? Why would there be seventeen?
4/12/2011 3:27 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Perhaps they are trying to curtail your segmentation of projects.  If they are truly logical phases or distinct projects, why are they all in one environmental document?  How many CSJs do you have on this one, seventeen?
4/12/2011 1:49 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
We have a similar situation as well. Hopefully, FHWA will provide additional guidance on how to proceed. Often, the NEPA document is funded first, then construcion is funded. Are all these types of projects now hold? Sometimes a completed EIS is used as leverage to secure construction funding. Isn't funding construction first assuming NEPA will have a certain outcome?
4/12/2011 12:30 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Thanks. I look forward to getting access to this guidance once it is re-posted.
4/8/2011 5:24 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
The February 9, 2011 document will be (re)-posted on the FHWA website in the very near future.  There were some additional citations and VERY minor corrections that needed to be made.
Sorry for the confusion.
4/8/2011 2:04 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
I did see this guidance when I did my search but was not sure how it related to the Febuary 9, 2011 guidance that was referred to in the original posting. Is the February 9, 2011 guidance available for posting at the FHWA website?
4/7/2011 4:43 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Lamar Smith
This most recent supplement to the guidance is located here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tprandnepamemo.htm

You should also look at the original guidance here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tprandnepa.htm.
4/7/2011 1:49 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
Does someone have a link to this guidance? I have not been sucessful in tracking it down with searches at FHWA's website.
4/7/2011 1:29 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:38 AM
In short, yes.  We are experiencing a similar situation for a Reevaluation of a Type II CE in Florida.  The project is in the current STIP/TIP but FHWA is asking for funding information for subsequent project phases including right of way and construction.  We are working with FHWA through our DOT to figure out how to address this issue.
4/7/2011 1:08 PM