Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance
Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act)
On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act,” the first Federal law in over ten years to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation. The FAST Act authorizes $305 billion over fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for the Department’s highway, highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, and research, technology and statistics programs. With its enactment, States and local governments may now move forward with critical transportation projects, like new highways and transit lines, with the confidence that they will have a Federal partner over the long term.
The FHWA and FTA jointly issued a final rule to update the regulations governing the development of metropolitan transportation plans (MTP) and programs for urbanized areas, long-range statewide transportation plans and programs, and the congestion management process, as well as revisions related to the use of and reliance on planning products developed during the planning process for project development and the environmental review process. The changes reflect the passage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)
MAP-21 (P.L. 112-141), a two-year funding bill, was signed into law on July 6, 2012, with an effective date of October 1, 2012. MAP-21 creates a streamlined and performance-based surface transportation program and builds on many of the highway, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian programs and policies established in 1991. MAP-21 promotes accelerating project delivery and encourages innovation through the increased use of programmatic approaches and planning and environment linkages. For more information on MAP-21, visit the FHWA MAP-21 website or the U.S. DOT MAP-21 website.
Click to view MAP-21 Section 1310 text.
Click to hide MAP-21 Section 1310 text.
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users
SAFETEA-LU includes several provisions intended to enhance the consideration of environmental issues and impacts within the transportation planning process and encourage the use of the products from planning in the NEPA process. Specifically, Sections 6001 and 6002 require many of the activities that were previously considered "good" practices to strengthen linkages.
Click to view some of the most relevant provisions of SAFETEA-LU.
Click to hide some of the most relevant provisions of SAFETEA-LU.
Additional Information Relating to Planning and Environment Linkages
Planning and Environmental Linkages – Questions and Answers. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) developed these questions and answers to provide information and guidance on the implementation of Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL). As additional questions are generated, this document will periodically be updated with additional questions and answers. In this guidance, questions and answers 1-4, 6, and 7(a) apply only to actions conducted pursuant to the authorities in 23 U.S.C. 168 as amended by the FAST Act (commonly known as "statutory PEL"). The remaining questions and answers pertain to general matters applicable to all Planning and Environmental Linkages actions.
Environment and Planning Linkage Processes Legal Guidance (2005) provides legal guidance regarding the extent to which the results of the transportation planning process can be used in and relied upon in the NEPA process.
SAFETEA-LU: Environmental Provisions for Transportation Planning (text version). This presentation from the Summer Meeting of the Committee on Historic and Archaeological Preservation in Transportation (ADC50) discusses SAFETEA-LU 6001 provisions for consultation and mitigation, and how planning provisions relate to project development, NEPA, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
For questions or feedback on this subject matter content, please contact Jody McCullough or Marisel Lopez-Cruz.