November 2, 2018
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FTA Issues Rulemaking Implementing NEPA

FTA, in cooperation with FHWA and FRA, has published a joint final rule implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 4(f) requirements (23 CFR parts 771 and 774) to reflect the changes made by MAP-21 and the FAST Act, as well as adding FRA to both regulations. The rule will go into effect on Nov. 28.

Major changes include:

* Cross-Agency Categorical Exclusion (CE). FTA may now apply an FHWA or FRA CE to an FTA project or action should FHWA or FRA have a CE that better matches the project activity (see 23 CFR 771.118(e));

* Operational Right-of-Way (ROW) CE. The “existing operational ROW” definition at 23 CFR 771.188(c)(12) has been broadened in this revision to the rule;

* Combined Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision section (see 23 CFR 771.124);

* Coordination Plan and Schedule requirement. FTA and the project sponsor must establish the coordination plan, including schedule, within 90 days of publishing the notice of intent (see 23 CFR 771.123(b)(2)); and

* Three new Section 4(f) exemptions (see 23 CFR 774.13(a)): exemption of bridges (post-1945 construction); exemption for improvements to certain railroad or rail transit lines; and exemption for maintenance, preservation, rehabilitation, operation, modernization, reconstruction or replacement of historic transportation facilities.

See the Federal Register notice here.
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