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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis January 24, 2014
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DOTís Final Rule Cuts Environmental Red Tape

DOT recently announced a final rule that will cut red tape and achieve better environmental outcomes for some public transit projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), spurring them towards completion more quickly than in the past.
“Time is money, and by cutting the time it takes to manage environmental reviews, we can help save communities money that they can put toward critical transportation projects,” said Secretary Anthony Foxx.

FTA and FHWA officials say that the new rule, issued jointly, will expedite the delivery of certain public transit projects, including those to be built within an existing right-of-way where transportation already exists or those that receive less than $5 million in federal funding. The new rule encourages project sponsors and state and regional transportation authorities to projects with fewer impacts to reap the benefits of the quicker, simpler process, which requires less documentation for qualified projects.

“Every transportation project is unique, and not all projects require the same rigorous environmental review process that is necessary for much larger projects,” said Peter ­Rogoff, newly appointed DOT acting undersecretary for policy. “These common-sense changes will help balance responsible environmental stewardship with delivering transportation solutions to communities more quickly—in some cases shaving more than a year off of the environmental review process.”

The final rule, “Environmental Impact and Related Procedures,” was published in the Jan. 13 Federal Register. The rulemaking was required as part of MAP-21. For details, click here.

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