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Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

In August 2005, Section 6009(a) of SAFETEA-LU, made the first substantive revision to Section 4(f) since the 1966 US Department of Transportation Act. Section 6009, which amended existing Section 4(f) legislation at both Title 49 U.S.C Section 303 and Title 23 U.S.C. Section 138, simplified the process and approval of projects that have only de minimis impacts on lands impacted by Section 4(f). Section 6009 also required the U.S, DOT to issue regulations that clarify the factors to be considered and the standards to be applied when determining if an alternative for avoiding the use of a Section 4(f) property is feasible and prudent.

Section 106 (36 CFR Part 800)

Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, federal agencies must identify and evaluate historic properties and take into account the impact of undertakings they fund, license, permit, or assist on historic properties eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The federal agencies must consult with the State and/or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation the opportunity to comment on these undertakings.

Section 6(f) of The Land Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCFA) (36 CFR 59.3)

Passed by Congress in 1965, the act established the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a matching assistance program that provides grants which pay half the acquisition and development cost of outdoor recreation sites and facilities. Section 6(f) of the act prohibits the conversion of property acquired or developed with these grants to a non-recreational purpose without the approval of the Department of Interior's National Park Service. The DOI must ensure that replacement lands of equal value, location and usefulness are provided as a condition of such conversions. Consequently, where conversions of Section 6(f) lands are proposed for highway projects, project sponsors must provide replacement lands.


Significant means that in comparing the availability and function of the resource with the recreational, park, and refuge objectives of that community, the resource in question plays an important role in meeting those objectives. If a determination from the official with jurisdiction cannot be obtained, the Section 4(f) land will be presumed to be significant. All determinations (whether stated or presumed) are subject to review by FHWA for reasonableness.

State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO)

A governor-appointed position and, typically, a member of a state historic preservation agency, the SHPO provides project review and compliance of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The FHWA and FTA generally use the Section 106 process as a method by which a historic site’s significance is determined for a federal undertaking under Section 4(f). The SHPO functions as an official with jurisdiction for historic sites in the course of the Section 4(f) process.

Substantially Impaired

Substantial impairment occurs only when the protected activities, features or attributes of the resource are substantially diminished.