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Environmental Review Toolkit

Interagency Guidance: Transportation Funding
for Federal Agency Coordination
Associated with Environmental Streamlining Activities


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SAFETEA-LU has increased Federal transportation funding without a corresponding increase in Federal agency staff. This substantial increase in project funding highlights the need for measures to improve the way project development and environmental review processes are executed. The expectation of more intensive involvement by Federal agencies impacts budgets and personnel resources that are already strained. In addition, State DOTs are requesting early involvement and coordination from Federal resource agencies to support streamlining the environmental review process. These constraints need to be addressed in order to expedite and improve the environmental review process. Congress enacted Section 6002 of SAFETEA-LU, which is codified in Subchapter I of chapter 1 of Title 23 USC section 139.

Section 139(j), "Assistance to Affected State and Federal Agencies", allows a State to use funds made available to them under SAFETEA-LU or chapter 53 of Title 49 to provide additional resources to Federal agencies (including the USDOT), State agencies, and Federally recognized Indian tribes participating in the environmental review process. Section 139(j) funds may only be used for projects in a given State that support activities that directly and meaningfully contribute to expediting and improving transportation project planning and delivery for projects in that State.

The purpose of this guidance is to provide the USDOT, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Division offices, State DOTs, local transit operators, Federal resource agencies, and Federally recognized Indian tribes with the tools needed to develop mutually beneficial agreements to meet the goals of SAFETEA-LU. Funding agreements must be in compliance with Federal and state contracting and finance laws and procedures. Title 23 allows interagency funding transfers to occur in anticipation of work to be done or as reimbursement for work already completed. Although SAFETEA-LU provides a mechanism for states to use Federal-aid funds, other funding mechanisms are available and may be used in conjunction with or instead of those under Title 23.

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