Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery

NEPA Program Assignment

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Program Assignment (23 U.S.C. 327)

The Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program—for which all States are eligible—allows the Secretary of Transportation to assign, and the State to assume, the Secretary's responsibilities under NEPA for one or more highway projects, as well as one or more railroad, public transportation, and/or multimodal project. This program replaces the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Program, which was created by Section 6005 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users Act (SAFETEA-LU).

FHWA responsibilities are assigned through a Memorandum of Understanding that expires after 5 years, but is renewable. FHWA initially reviews the State’s compliance with the terms of the MOU through audits and then through monitoring.

Categorical Exclusion Assignment (23 U.S.C. 326)

SAFETEA-LU also created a permanent but less expansive program for States to assume FHWA’s responsibilities for highway projects classified as Categorical Exclusions or CEs (Section 6004 of SAFETEA-LU). Upon assigning environmental review responsibilities for CE projects to a State DOT, FHWA could also assign to that State DOT all or part of FHWA’s responsibilities for environmental review, consultation, or other action required under any Federal environmental law pertaining to the review of a specific highway project. FHWA responsibilities are assigned through a Memorandum of Understanding that expires after 3 years, but is renewable. FHWA monitors the State’s compliance with the terms of the MOU. California, Utah, and Alaska currently are engaged in this program.

For questions or feedback on this subject, please contact Owen Lindauer at 202-366-2655 or Damaris Santiago at 202-366-2034. For general questions or web problems, please send feedback to the web administrator.

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