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Transportation Planning Requirements and Their Relationship to NEPA Approvals

Supplement to January 28, 2008 Transportation Planning Requirements and their Relationship to NEPA Process Completion (2/9/2011) Distribution Memo

From: Shepherd, Gloria <FHWA>
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 10:35 AM
To: FHWA-#ALLDA-OfficialMailbox
Cc: FHWA-#ALLDFS-PersonalMailbox; FHWA-#ALLADA-PersonalMailbox; HEPODs; All Planners; FHWA DSS Environment (FHWA); HEPallfeds; Jenkins, Jacqueline (FHWA); Gee, King (FHWA); McElroy, Regina (FHWA)
Subject: Information: "Supplement to January 28, 2008 Transportation Planning Requirements and Their Relation to NEPA Process Completion" Information Memorandum

TO THE ATTENTION OF: Division Administrators, Planning and Environmental Staff

The purpose of this message is to provide clarification to the previously issued January 28, 2008 "Transportation Planning Requirements and Their Relation to NEPA Process Completion" Informational Memorandum and to respond to additional questions that field staff have posed relevant to planning requirements and NEPA approvals. The information contained within the attached questions and answers is a reiteration of existing FHWA policy, current statues, and regulation. The information clarifies when a final NEPA approval (Categorical Exclusion, Record of Decision, or Finding of No Significant Impact) can be made in relation to specific transportation planning and air quality conformity regulations, with a particular emphasis on fiscal constraint.

Fiscal stewardship is a critical role and responsibility for FHWA, and is engrained throughout the transportation decision making process: from fiscal constraint requirements in the transportation planning process, to reasonable cost estimates of alternatives in project development and the NEPA process, to financial plans and major project requirements during design and construction.

FHWA continues to encourage transparency, consistency, and reasonableness with regard to planned expenditures of public resources, and is making a concerted effort to ensure that consistent messages are being provided throughout the planning, project development, NEPA, design, and construction processes. In support of this supplement, we plan to provide outreach through webinars, workshops, and/or meetings for the Division Offices, States, MPOs and local agencies in the near future.

For additional information, or if you have questions or comments, please contact your assigned headquarters planning or environmental liaison.

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Updated: 12/03/2012
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