Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery

Successes in Stewardship
Monthly Newsletter
April 2002

Transportation Roster: Using Dispute Resolution Professionals to Get Past Project Delays

Photo of a group of people sitting at a conference table.

A neutral facilitator leading collaborative problem-solving on an environmental issue. (Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution image)

Transportation Roster Tailored to Help Streamline Transportation Projects

The Transportation Roster, part of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution's (IECR) larger National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals, provides state and Federal agencies with access to a list of qualified neutral facilitators and mediators who have experience in transportation cases and are already familiar with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system, the objectives of environmental streamlining, and the transportation and environmental review processes. These professionals can provide services such as conflict assessment, facilitation of interagency partnering agreements, design of conflict management processes, and mediation of disputes.

The Transportation Roster is an optional tool project sponsors can use to minimize project delays, resolve conflicts, and avoid the costs of potential litigation. State departments of transportation (DOTs) now have a source of qualified, effective facilitators and mediators they can use without investing a lot of time getting them up to speed on NEPA and transportation streamlining objectives. When all parties agree to use qualified neutral facilitators and mediators, transportation and resource agencies can improve working relationships and shorten the time it takes to reach interagency consensus. The use of neutral facilitators and mediators with experience in NEPA, the transportation process, and environmental streamlining allows involved agencies to focus on the pertinent issues and arrive at joint solutions.

Success Stories

Before the Transportation Roster was finalized in 2001, qualified neutral facilitators had already been used successfully as breakout session leaders at a number of national workshops, including the FHWA National Environmental Streamlining Workshop held in November 2000 in St. Louis, Missouri. Facilitators have also helped improve interagency communication and minimize delays on several transportation projects across the nation.

Here are a few examples:

  • In November 2001, a Transportation Roster facilitator working in conjunction with the IECR provided assessment support to agencies involved in the St. Croix River crossing project in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The resulting proposal to restart negotiations is currently being reviewed by local, state, and Federal officials.
  • Facilitators are being used on the Foothills South toll road project in Orange County, California. After taking 28 months for the development of a purpose and need statement, involved agencies brought in facilitators to help develop the list of project alternatives, technical reports, and other environmental documents.
  • In 1992, Pennsylvania transportation agencies began work on seven large transportation projects in southwest Pennsylvania and around Pittsburgh. Facilitators were brought in to coordinate monthly interagency meetings of state and Federal transportation and resource agencies. The facilitators, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and still used today, are helping agencies identify project issues early.

Background Information

Section 1309(c) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) calls for the creation of ADR procedures as part of a national environmental streamlining initiative. To meet this mandate, FHWA worked with IECR to develop an ADR system. The ADR system for the transportation project development process is made up of four components: 1) dispute resolution guidance; 2) procedures for elevating disputes to the Secretary of the U.S. DOT; 3) regional interagency trainings and workshops in interest-based negotiation and dispute resolution during the transportation project development process; and, 4) a roster of qualified neutral mediators and facilitators with transportation and NEPA expertise. FHWA and IECR developed facilitator selection criteria and solicited Transportation Roster members through meetings, newsletter articles, and discussions with professional associations, state and Federal agencies, dispute resolution firms, individual practitioners, professional associations of attorneys, and environmental and citizen groups.

Finalized in 2001 by FHWA and IECR, the Transportation Roster of qualified neutral facilitators and mediators is an optional tool transportation project sponsors can use at their discretion to quickly and effectively focus on the pertinent project issues, save time, and avoid the costs of potential litigation.

The 1998 Environmental Policy and Conflict Resolution Act created IECR, which is part of the Morris K. Udall Foundation. IECR helps Federal agencies and other involved parties manage and resolve Federal environmental, natural resource, and public lands disputes by providing services such as case consultation, conflict assessment, process design, facilitation, and mediation.


HOW TO USE THE TRANSPORTATION ROSTER

The Transportation Roster is comprised of dispute resolution professionals with experience in NEPA and transportation projects. The roster is managed by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (IECR).

FHWA helps support IECR's administration costs to maintain both the Transportation Roster and National Roster.

Project sponsors should contact IECR to access the Transportation Roster, and then negotiate contracts and pay for the costs of the Transportation Roster member's services directly.

Project sponsors may use project funds to pay for the costs of the Transportation Roster member's services.

To review the Transportation Roster, go to http://ecr.gov/roster/index.htm

To request Transportation Roster referrals, contact the IECR Roster Manager.


FHWA-AASHTO Environmental Stewardship Demonstration Projects

Nineteen states have registered environmental stewardship demonstrations, including NC. To learn more about these projects, visit:

http://itre.ncsu.edu/aashto/stewardship/

Contact Information

Joan C. Calcagno, Roster Manager
US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution
110 S. Church Ave., Suite 3350
Tucson, AZ 85701
Tel: 520-670-5299
Fax: 520-670-5530
E-mail: roster@ecr.gov

"Successes in Stewardship" is a Federal Highway Administration newsletter highlighting current environmental streamlining practices from around the country.

For more information on environmental streamlining, please visit: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/strmlng/index.asp.

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