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Project Delivery/Streamlining

Recent Developments

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This section describes recent developments related to project delivery/streamlining from the last six months. If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the Share Info with AASHTO form.

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FHWA 'Successes in Stewardship' Monthly Newsletter

View the most recent issues of FHWA's Successes in Stewardship Newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining practices from around the country:

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DOT Inspector General Report Cites Barriers to Accelerated Project Delivery

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General has issued a report on efforts to accelerate project delivery under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Subtitle C. The report finds that many initiatives had to be postponed due to revisions enacted by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. The IG report also indicates the Federal Highway Administration is lacking sufficient documentation on innovative project delivery methods, a performance assessment of states that assume environmental review responsibilities, and a clearly established a process for required reporting on categorical exclusions. It urges the FHWA to update policies, establish completion dates and finalize plans. For more information, link to the report. (3-6-17)

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March 23 Webinar Addresses DOT Actions to Expedite Project Delivery

A webinar focused on expediting and streamlining decision making in project delivery will be held March 23 from 12:30 to 1:30 PM, Eastern time. The event is sponsored by AASHTO in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration under the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2 Solutions). Presenters include Tim Hill, Ohio Department of Transportation; Denise McClafferty, Maricopa Association of Governments, Arizona; Kate Kurgan, AASHTO; and David Williams, FHWA. For registration information, link here. (3-3-17)

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FHWA Newsletter Highlights Integrated NEPA/Permit Streamlining Approach

An integrated approach to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and environmental permitting is highlighted in the latest issue of the Federal Highway Administration’s Successes in Stewardship newsletter. The approach provides transportation agencies with integration tools and strategies, such as assistance in developing cooperative agreements with resource agencies that have permitting roles. The approach also addresses the creation of informal and formal agreements, establishing liaisons, and using the online collaboration tool, eNEPA. It also highlights the use of the Red Book: Synchronizing Environmental Reviews for Transportation and Other Infrastructure Projects. That document encourages widespread adoption of concurrent review processes and supports more effective coordination among transportation, resource, and regulatory agencies. The approach is part of the fourth round of FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiative, a state-based effort to shorten the project delivery process. For more information, link to the February 2017 issue of the Successes in Stewardship newsletter. (2-14-17) 

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President Issues Executive Order on High Priority Infrastructure Projects

The President has issued Executive Order 13766 to expedite environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects. The order identifies as high priority projects those intended to improve the electric grid and telecommunication systems and those that repair and upgrade critical port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges and highways. The order allows governors and any executive department or agency to request high priority status and requires the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to decide whether an infrastructure project qualifies as a high priority within 30 days of such requests. The order also allows the CEQ to make determinations on its own initiative, and the council must coordinate with the heads of the relevant agencies to establish expedited procedures and deadlines. For more information link to the executive order. (1-30-17)

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USDOT Report Addresses Steps Taken to Accelerate Project Delivery

The Department of Transportation has released a report to Congress concerning Section 1317 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which addresses the acceleration of project delivery while improving environmental outcomes under the National Environmental Policy Act. The report addresses the use of technology in environmental reviews, prioritization of programmatic environmental impact statements, methods to encourage agencies to present analysis in a clear manner, and improvements to modernize process implementation. For more information, link to the report. (1-19-17)

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ARTBA Issues Project Delivery Recommendations for New Administration

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association has released recommendations for the incoming Trump administration concerning transportation project delivery. The group has identified federal regulatory programs under the Transportation Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies that in its view impede project delivery. These include the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation projects, the consideration of greenhouse gases in environmental reviews, the Waters of the United States rule, the Social Cost of Carbon rule, the Buy America law, the Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program, geographic-based hiring preferences, project labor agreements, hours of service for motor carrier operators, corporate average fuel economy standards, and critical habitat designations for endangered species. For more information, link to the report. (1-13-17)

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FDOT Receives National Environmental Policy Act Responsibilities

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has announced a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Highway Administration to allow the state to assume responsibilities for environmental review of infrastructure projects. The assignment of responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act is expected to save an estimated 25 percent of the processing time and $22 million per year. Florida joins California, Ohio and Texas in assuming NEPA authority. For more information, link to the press release. (12-14-16)

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Final Rule Authorizes Construction Manager/General Contractor Method

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a final rule authorizing use of the construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) contracting method. The rule, issued pursuant to Section1303 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), allows a contracting agency to use a single procurement to hire a construction contractor early in a project’s design phase to obtain the contractor’s input on constructability issues that may be affected by the project design.  It is intended to accelerate project delivery and reduce costs while protecting the integrity of the National Environmental Policy Act review process. For more information, link to the final rule. (12-2-16)

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Caltrans Requests Renewed Participation in NEPA Assignment Program

The Federal Highway Administration has announced the receipt of a renewal package from the California Department of Transportation requesting renewed participation in the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program and an associated proposed memorandum of understanding for assignment of National Environmental Policy Act review authority. The FHWA has determined that the renewal package is complete and has developed a draft renewal memorandum of understanding with Caltrans outlining how the state will implement the program with FHWA oversight. For more information, link to the Federal Register notice. (11-16-16)

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Utah DOT Seeks to Assume FHWA NEPA Review Authority

The Federal Highway Administration has announced the receipt of an application from the Utah Department of Transportation requesting participation in the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program and an associated proposed memorandum of understanding that outlines how the state will implement the program with oversight from the FHWA. The FHWA specifies that if approved, the state will assume environmental review responsibilities, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, for federally funded highway projects in the state. For more information, link to the Federal Register notice. (11-16-16)

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Florida DOT Applies for NEPA Assignment from FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is accepting public comment on an application and proposed memorandum of understanding from the Florida Department of Transportation requesting participation in the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program. The MOU outlines how the state will implement the program to assume environmental review responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act for federally funded highway projects in the state. For more information, link to the Federal Register notice. (11-1-16)

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Featured Case Study

  • Case Study Photo

    Oregon DOT's ESA Programmatic Consultation helps streamline projects such as this innovative culvert design to facilitate fish passage.

    Read Case Study >Photo: Ron Horres, P.E.

View All Case Studies for this Topic >

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