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Department of Transportation

Overview

The following provides an overview of the U.S. Department of Transportation and environmental programs related to transportation. Topics include the following:

Background

The US Department of Transportation is the primary agency in the federal government with the responsibility for shaping and administering policies and programs to protect and enhance the safety, adequacy, and efficiency of the transportation system and services.

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Federal Highway Administration

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) coordinates highway transportation programs in cooperation with states and other partners to enhance the country's safety, economic vitality, quality of life, and the environment. Major program areas include the Federal-Aid Highway Program, which provides federal financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, urban and rural roads, and bridges. This program provides funds for general improvements and development of safe highways and roads. The Federal Lands Highway Program provides access to and within national forests, national parks, Indian reservations and other public lands by preparing plans and contracts, supervising construction facilities, and conducting bridge inspections and surveys. The FHWA also manages a comprehensive research, development, and technology program.

Before any project can move forward to construction, the FHWA must address and comply with numerous laws related to the environment. These laws cover social, economic, and environmental concerns ranging from community cohesion to threatened and endangered species (See Summary of Environmental Laws Affecting Transportation). To get through this detailed process, FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration use the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to evaluate impacts associated with each individual project.

Within the Federal-aid Highway Program, FHWA’s Planning, Environment, and Realty program oversees the agency’s environmental programs.

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Federal Transit Administration

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) assists in developing improved mass transportation system for cities and communities nationwide. Through its grant programs, FTA helps plan, build, and operate transit systems with convenience, cost and accessibility in mind. While buses and rail vehicles are the most common type of public transportation, other kinds include commuter ferryboats, trolleys, inclined railways, subways, and people movers. In providing financial, technical and planning assistance, the agency provides leadership and resources for safe and technologically advanced local transit systems while assisting in the development of local and regional traffic reduction.

Along with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the FTA Office of Planning administers a national program of planning assistance that provides funding, guidance, and technical support to state and local transportation agencies. The ten regional offices of FTA and the 52 division offices of FHWA help to convey the program to the states, local governments, and their transportation agencies. These responsibilities include compliance with environmental review requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and transportation planning and conformity requirements under the Clean Air Act. View more information on environmental issues at FTA.

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US Department of Transportation

The US Department of Transportation consists of the Office of the Secretary and eleven individual Operating Administrations:

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 authorized the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, which, on March 1, 2003, assumed management of the United States Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration, formerly DOT Operating Administrations.

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New - items posted in the last 7 days
(30 days for CLUE and PAL)

AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
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