Caltrans Realizes ‘Huge Benefits’ From Assuming Federal Environmental Reviews

As the first state transportation agency to assume federal authority for environmental reviews of highway projects, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has shaved more than a year off the median timeframe for its review process. Through its participation in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assignment program, Caltrans is saving money, protecting the environment, and getting vital projects to construction sooner.

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AASHTO Resources

Programmatic Agreement Toolkit

The Programmatic Agreement Toolkit provides materials that guide practitioners through the process required to develop and implement a Programmatic Agreement.

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Programmatic Agreements Library

PAL is the Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO library of programmatic agreements. Programmatic agreements, and versions thereof (concurrence letters and the like) are variations of a programmatic model that accomplishes one main goal: projects that meet the conditions stipulated may be processed efficiently according to agreed-upon procedures, typically reducing the number of steps and time required for review and approval.

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AASHTO Summary of MAP-21 Project Delivery Provision

In August 2012, AASHTO President Kirk Steudle directed AASHTO staff to establish eight work groups to address MAP 21 implementation and reauthorization issues. The charge to each of these work groups was four-fold. First, evaluate MAP-21 concerning impacts and effects to the state DOTs. Second, identify and provide recommendations on implementation issues. Third, identify State DOT implementation support needs. Fourth, provide internal technical support.

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Project Delivery & Transportation

Project delivery is critical to the success of any transportation engagement.

We dive deep into what you need to know about ensuring timely project delivery in light of environmental review and approval.

External Links

2015 Red Book: Synchronizing Environmental Reviews for Transportation and Other Infrastructure Projects(FHWA)

Executive-Level Efforts on Speeding Infrastructure Development

One Federal Decision Framework for the Environmental Review and Authorization Process for Major Infrastructure Projects under Executive Order 13807(March 2018)

Executive Order 13807, Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure (Aug. 2017)

Executive Order 13604, Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects (2012)

Permitting Dashboard: Federal Infrastructure Projects

Presidential Memorandum on Expediting High-Priority Infrastructure Projects(2011)

Executive Order 13274, Environmental Stewardship and Transportation Infrastructure Project Reviews (2002)

FHWA Accelerating Project Delivery Website

FHWA Every Day Counts Initiative (EDC4) Integrating NEPA and Permitting

FHWA Summary of Environmental Review Provisions

FHWA Resources on Programmatic Agreements

Eco-Logical Approach Implementation

FHWA Resources on Performance Reporting, Timeliness of NEPA Process, Environmental Tracking

FHWA Successes in Stewardship Newsletter

Transportation Liaison Community of Practice


Guidance for Managing NEPA-Related and Other Risks in Project Delivery, Volume 2: Expediting NEPA Decisions and Other Practitioner Strategies for Addressing High Risk Issues in Project Delivery(NCHRP Web-Only Document 183; NCHRP Project 20-24, Task 71 Phase 2) (May 2014).

Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects, Second Strategic Highway Research Program (July 2012). The report documents 16 common constraints on project delivery along with 24 separate strategies addressing them.