Section 1309-Accelerating Completion of Complex Projects within 4 Years Questions & Answers
Question 1: When is the 4-year provision under MAP-21 Section 1309 effective for accelerating the completion of complex projects?
Answer 1: The effective date of this provision is October 1, 2012. Additional guidance on implementation of this section will be issued after October 1, 2012.
Question 2: Does the four-year provision apply to projects for which the NOI was published prior to October 1, 2012?
Answer 2: Yes. At any time after October 1, 2012, if the NOI for a project is at least two-years old, the project sponsor or Governor may request assistance under this provision. (23 U.S.C. 139(m)(1)-(2))
Question 3: To which NEPA class of actions does this provision apply?
Answer 3: Only Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) projects are eligible for this provision. A project sponsor or Governor of a State may invoke the provision starting two-years after the date of issuance of the Notice of Intent (NOI) for a project. The provision applies to any permit, approval, review, or study required for the project. (23 U.S.C. 139(m)(1)-(3)).
Question 4: How does this provision accelerate projects?
Answer 4: After two years have elapsed without reaching a Record of Decision (ROD), the project sponsor or Governor of a State may request technical assistance from FHWA and/or FTA, as applicable, to resolve the outstanding issues and project delay. FHWA and/or FTA, in coordination with State(s) in which the project is located or the project sponsor, as applicable; any joint lead agencies; CEQ; and the participating agencies, will develop a schedule that complies with all applicable laws and will complete any permit, approval, review, or study required for the project within four years of the date of issuance of the NOI. (23 U.S.C. 139(m)(1)-(3)). CEQ, each participating agency, and the State(s) in which the project is located or the project sponsor, as applicable, must concur on the schedule. If such 4-year schedule is not feasible due to the age of the NOI, then the agencies will work with the project sposor to establish a schedule that meets the intent of Section 1309.
Question 5: What if there is difficulty in reaching concurrence on the schedule?
Answer 5: Until further guidance is developed by FHWA and FTA, if the lead agencies, CEQ, participating agencies, and the state or project sponsor cannot reach concurrence on a schedule, the matter should be elevated from the FHWA and/or FTA field offices to FHWA and/or FTA headquarters offices and the U.S. DOT's Office of the Secretary as applicable for issue resolution.
Question 6: What types of technical assistance shall FHWA and/or FTA provide under MAP-21 Section 1309 provisions?
Answer 6: For applicable projects, FHWA and/or FTA will provide additional technical assistance to resolve any outstanding issues and project delay by: 1) providing additional staff, training, and expertise; 2) facilitating interagency coordination; 3) promoting more efficient collaboration; and 4) supplying specialized onsite assistance. (23 U.S.C. 139(m)(2)).
In providing technical assistance for a covered project under this provision, FHWA and/or FTA will establish a scope of work that describes the actions that FHWA and/or FTA will take to resolve the outstanding issues and project delays, including establishing a schedule as described above. (23 U.S.C. 139(m)(3)).