National Survey of State DOT Recommendations for Additional Section 106 Program Comments or Exemptions
Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources
Community & Cultural Concerns
Under 1 year
Research Idea Scope
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), published two “program alternatives” (viz. 36 CFR 800.14) that significantly streamlined transportation project development. These program alternatives were the “Exemption Regarding Historic Preservation Review Process for Effects to the Interstate Highway System” (2005) and the “Program Comment Issued for Streamlining Section 106 Review for Actions Affecting Post-1945 Concrete and Steel Bridges” (2012). This research effort would seek to identify similar opportunities for program alternatives, covered by national exemptions or program comments, that could further streamline Section 106 consultation for transportation projects. The principal effort would involve a survey and synthesis of state DOTs to identify program alternatives opportunities of highest value to state DOTs, including the development of an outline for each recommended exemption or program comment. This research also would build on the results of NCHRP 25-25, Task 91: “Synthesis of Transportation Exclusions to Section 106 Review”. The results of this effort would be available for consideration by both the ACHP and FHWA, and be available to each state for potential use in negotiating local efficiencies with individual State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs).
Urgency and Payoff
Exemptions from Section 106, either through a formal exemption or program comment, is among the most effect means to streamline compliance with federal law and regulation. Exempting entire categories of properties from Section 106 consideration can significantly reduce the regulatory burden and allow state DOTs and their SHPO partners to focus on historic preservation issues of the highest value.
Antony Opperman Virginia Department of Transportation 804-371-6749