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Project Delivery/Streamlining

Recent Developments Archive

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FHWA Seeks Input on State Assumption of Additional Authorities

The Federal Highway Administration is seeking input on potential additional areas of authority that states could assume to accelerate delivery of surface transportation projects. The solicitation implements a mandate of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, under which the Secretary of Transportation must submit recommendations to House and Senate committees on legislation to permit states to assume additional authorities. The act specifically asks for recommendations in the areas of real estate and project design. Comments are due Oct. 31, 2016. For more information, link to the notice. (8-30-16)

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Input Requested for FHWA Website on Programmatic Approaches

The Federal Highway Administration is developing a new website on use of programmatic approaches to project delivery and is requesting input on procedures, techniques, approaches, or best practices that should be considered for inclusion. The agency also is seeking any information resources that are readily available regarding practices and procedures that avoid unnecessary delays, minimize cost overruns, and ensure the effective use of federal funds. Comments are due Oct. 31, 2016. For more information, link to the notice. (8-30-16)

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FHWA Issues Final Rule on Real Estate Early Acquisition Projects

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a final rule to implement early real estate acquisition provisions under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The rule implements Section 1302 of MAP-21, which established new flexibilities for state departments of transportation regarding real property acquisitions that may be carried out prior to completion of National Environmental Policy Act review. The rule addresses the use of federal funds for projects that are for the acquisition of property that subsequently will be used for a transportation project, and establishes the criteria for such use of funds. The rule allows for certain activities to occur prior to a NEPA decision. The rule also makes additional changes to clarify and streamline the agency’s real estate regulations. For more information, link to the final rule. (8-23-16)

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NCHRP Report, Guidebook Published on Preconstruction Cost Estimating

A report and guidebook addressing the estimation of highway preconstruction services (PCS) costs has been published under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Report 826). Among the findings is that project classification under the National Environmental Policy Act often ranks as one of the highest influences when developing an accurate PCS cost estimate, indicating that it should be part of the recommended minimum set of PCS cost factors. Other influential factors are complexity and project type. For more information, link to Estimating Highway Preconstruction Services Costs Volumes 1 and 2. (7-27-16)

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Bike/Ped Application Added to PlanWorks Decision Support System

A new Bicycles and Pedestrians Application has been added to the Federal Highway Administration’s decision support system, PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects. The enhancement is intended to help metropolitan planning organizations, state departments of transportation, and other partners fully integrate pedestrian and bicycle planning and design into the formal transportation planning process. It provides detailed information on how multimodal transportation can be incorporated into specific steps in the planning process. For more information, link to the application. (6-30-16)

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FHWA Issues Roster for 'Every Day Counts' Fourth Round

The Federal Highway Administration has announced the fourth-round roster for its Every Day Counts initiative, which aims to expedite transportation project delivery. Eleven technologies and practices have been selected, including improvements to the adoption and consistency of traffic incident management data collection, automated traffic signal performance measures, and the integration of the National Environmental Policy Act with permitting processes to promote synchronized reviews. Also included are advanced road weather management technologies and community connection techniques that provide visibility and awareness of the role transportation can play in supporting community revitalization efforts. For more information, link to the announcement. (6-23-16)

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Recipients of Round 7 SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Announced

AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration have announced 42 transportation organizations as the recipients of the Round 7 Implementation Assistance Program (IAP) under the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2). Thirteen SHRP2 solutions from renewal, capacity and reliability focus areas were in Round 7 and work will begin on 79 projects in 37 states. The IAP was launched in 2013 and provided more than $130 million in financial support and technical assistance to transportation agencies across the country. For more information, link to the announcement. (6-20-17)

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AASHTO, FHWA Sign Agreement to Spur Project Innovation

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Federal Highway Administration are pooling their resources to help state and local agencies deploy innovative but proven technologies that help deliver infrastructure projects faster and cheaper. Leaders of the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding that formalizes a cooperative structure between their existing initiatives which already focus on new ways to spread emerging best practices and technologies that can also improve environmental sustainability, roadway safety and congestion. For more information, link to the article and to the memorandum of understanding. (6-3-16)

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U.S DOT Issues Draft Guidance for Implementation of Sec. 1312 of the FAST Act

The U.S. DOT has released draft guidance concerning implementation of Section 1312 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). The guidance includes information on the use of funds by eligible public entities to support federal agencies, states agencies and Indian tribes participating in environmental planning and review processes. The guidance will be helpful in completing individual projects, a group of projects or a program of projects. The program is successful in promoting efficient project delivery through early engagement and issue identification. For more information, link to the guidance. (6-3-16)

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FHWA Issues Final Rule, Guidance on CE Programmatic Agreements

The Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration have issued final regulations on categorical exclusions (CE) for projects receiving limited federal assistance to reflect a requirement in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The rule indexes for inflation the monetary thresholds for these CEs. The rule also amends rules on programmatic agreements for CEs to allow a state department of transportation to make a CE determination on behalf of FHWA. For more information, link to the final rule and related memo, guidance, and template for programmatic CEs. (5-31-16)

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AASHTO Launches Programmatic Agreement Roadmap, Tracking Tool

The Center for Environmental Exellence by AASHTO's has lanched the Roadmap and Tracking Tool for Programmatic Agreements, including a May 23, 2016, introductory webinar by the Center and the Federal Highway Administration. The Roadmap is a user-friendly web-based tool that will guide practitioners through the process required to develop and implement a programmatic agreement. The Roadmap provides relevant examples of successes and challenges at key decision points, as well as highlights successful strategies for establishing programmatic agreements, including common phrasing/clauses, scope, and structure. The Tracking Tool provides a user-friendly and easily accessible web-based template for state DOTs to clearly and concisely track the benefits of developing and implementing programmatic agreements. For more information and webinar recording, link here. (5-24-16)

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FHWA Issues $4.8 Million in Grants to Accelerate Project Delivery

The Federal Highway Administration has awarded $4.8 million to Arizona, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Vermont and to Alaska’s Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribe to accelerate delivery time for highway projects. The grants have been awarded from the Accelerated Innovation Deployment Program, which facilitates the use of innovative traffic, safety and construction practice by agencies nationwide. For more information and specific projects, link to the announcement. (4-29-16)

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AASHTO and FHWA Issue SHRP2 Implementation Highlights from 2015

AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration have issued 2015 implementation highlights for the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2). The report documents the ways in which research has been put into practice, stating that $122 million in research funding has led to 63 SHRP2 solutions, 350 projects implemented, and thousands of outreach activities and hours of technical assistance. The report also features SHRP2 solutions from the first three rounds of implementation assistance, including accelerated bridge construction, more effective organization in operations to reduce congestion, implementing Eco-Logical, and quicker, safer clearance of traffic accidents. For more information, link to SHRP2 Moving Us Forward Implementation Highlights 2015. (1-5-16)

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Ohio DOT Gets Approval to Assume Federal NEPA Review Authority

The Ohio Department of Transportation has received approval to take on environmental review responsibilities from the Federal Highway Administration under the National Environmental Policy Act. A memorandum of understanding executed between the two agencies on Dec. 11, 2015, sets forth how Ohio DOT will implement the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The agreement makes ODOT the third state transportation agency in the nation, after California and Texas, to assume federal environmental review authority. More information, including text of the memorandum of understanding, is available on Ohio DOT's NEPA Assignment web page at (1-12-16)

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Featured Case Study

  • Case Study Photo

    The Maine DOT adopts a programmatic approach to ensure vital protections for the endangered Atlantic salmon, while cutting project-approval times.

    Read Case Study >Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
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