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Environmental Review Toolkit
Transportation Liaison Community of Practice

About Transportation Liaisons

plus sign What is a Transportation Liaison?
minus sign What is a Transportation Liaison?

Transportation liaisons are personnel housed in State or Federal resource and regulatory agencies (i.e., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, etc.) that are funded by State departments of transportation (State DOTs) or public entities to facilitate the environmental and permitting review process for transportation projects. Liaisons serve as a bridge between the State DOT and the resource and regulatory partners to accelerate the project delivery process. The goal of a transportation liaison is to improve the timeliness of agency response to State DOTs and provide input and comments on projects early in the planning process. Early coordination and communication can alert State DOTs of environmental issues so that they can avoid and minimize environmental impacts prior to submitting a project for review. This process improves environmental outcomes and saves the State DOT time and money.

plus sign What benefits do Transportation Liaisons provide?
minus sign What benefits do Transportation Liaisons provide?

Because of the complexity involved in transportation project delivery, transportation liaisons are able to accelerate the environmental review process that may otherwise become delayed due to miscommunication or lack of coordination between State DOTs and resource agencies. Due to their unique perspective of the requirements of different organizations, as well as their position’s focus on transportation projects, transportation liaisons are a source of innovation and improved efficiencies in the project delivery process.

plus sign What does a Transportation Liaison do?
minus sign What does a Transportation Liaison do?

On a day-to-day basis, transportation liaisons work to review transportation projects, respond to State DOT priorities, and develop strong working relationships between transportation and resource agencies.

More specifically, transportation liaisons may lead or participate in some or all of the following activities, including:

  • Early coordination efforts
  • Completion of permit requests
  • Providing expertise and consultation services
  • Attend interagency meetings or participate in site visits
  • Training of agency personnel
  • Research and mapping
  • Development of programmatic agreements

A wide range of environmental regulatory requirements can apply to transportation projects. Transportation liaisons work to coordinate compliance with relevant laws and regulations including one or more of the following:

  • Endangered Species Act (Section 7)
  • Clean Water Act (Sections 404 and 401)
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106)
  • U.S. Coast Guard bridge clearance requirements
  • State and local laws
plus sign Who are the FHWA National Transportation Liaisons?
minus sign Who are the FHWA National Transportation Liaisons?

The National Transportation Liaisons serve as FHWA’s connection to Federal resource and regulatory agencies regarding liaison activities at a national level. The FHWA has liaison agreements with the following agencies:

  • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – National Marine Fisheries Service
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service